Councillors unwilling to gamble on Balloon Challenge

LIFELINE: The Canowindra International Balloon Challenge is poised to take advantage of a council loan. Photo: SUPPLIED
LIFELINE: The Canowindra International Balloon Challenge is poised to take advantage of a council loan. Photo: SUPPLIED

THE Canowindra International Balloon Challenge has ensured its future after it secured a $50,000 loan from Cabonne Council to cover last year's loss.

Councillors met on Tuesday and agreed to provide a $50,000 loan to the festival after creditors were left owing $56,000 following this year's event.

A report from staff said about $8000 had since been paid.

The organisers told the council the shortfall occurred due to a drop in numbers at the event's highlight, the night time balloon glow.

About 4500 people paid the $30 entry this year, 5500 less than anticipated.

"The organisers have stated that they will not be in a position to conduct the Canowindra Challenge in 2020 without a significant contribution from council in addition to any sponsorship they can raise between now and the proposed date of the event in April 2020," the report said.

We could lose it to other villages and we don't want that to happen.

Councillor Cheryl Newsom

Canowindra-based councillors at the meeting were conscious of the estimated $1.3 million the event injected into the economy.

Councillor Kevin Walker said he had confidence in the organisers to make the event successful.

Councillor Cheryl Newsom agreed.

"It's imperative for the town that it goes ahead," she said.

"We could lose it to other villages and we don't want that to happen."

Funds for the loan, to be repaid across five years, will be sourced from the Canowindra town improvement fund.

The loan will be made available in March if the council is satisfied necessary arrangements are in place to run the event.