By Dominique Tassell
The Killarney Area Promotion Association (KAPA) held their monthly meeting on Wednesday 20 July, highlighting current local issues.
A main topic of conversation was the upcoming AGM, to be held on Wednesday 7 September.
The current President and Secretary will not be running again.
There will be no markets held in August, and the new KAPA committee will decide the future of the markets once elected.
President Brian Thomas stated that there would be 45 stallholders at the 24 July markets, and it would be an opportunity for members looking to nominate at the AGM to have a chat with stallholders.
In his President’s Report, Brian said that Covid-19 is still impacting the region’s tourism, and he’s received mixed responses from local businesses.
He said some days at 2 pm, you “could shoot a bullet down Willow Street”.
He said the road from Boonah was still shut, and the gorge road also being shut was having an impact.
Brian said it was his personal observation that numbers are down, particularly during school holidays.
“The weather hasn’t helped,” he said.
Paul Stumkat said tourists are going elsewhere, to places like the Western Downs and beyond.
He suggested that KAPA do some market analysis as a result.
Jan Hamilton also said Covid-19 and weather have been an issue.
She said they’re “beating a dead horse” trying to get people into town.
Another local said people are simply not spending money
“We have good numbers but they’re not spending money,” they said.
Brian said he’s not sure what more they can do, and people are just going out West.
He spoke about a submission to Southern Downs Regional Council about tourism through bike trails and hiking trails.
He’s been involved in that for the past six months and said they have a high level of support from the State Government.
Brian said he’s sure that the local government will help out somehow too.
Condamine River Road was then discussed, with reports that the crossings have reduced down to a passable status and the Council had been out there with machinery.
Cr Ross Bartley was present and said the Council will only open the road when it’s safe for everyone.
Cr Bartley said the wet weather has been an inhibitor, and it’s been the wettest season we’ve seen in decades.
He said they’re dealing with numerous “untrafficable” roads, and there are 300 crossings people need to use across the region.
“We’re trying to give them all equal treatment,” he said.
Cr Bartley said he believes the rising costs of everything, including petrol, electricity, and more, are impacting local tourism.
He said out west is just more desirable, as there are warm days and mild nights and they have nationally advertised events.
Competition is an issue, he said, and events like Killarney Bonfire Night are successful because there’s nothing like it.
Brian said he believes the Council have done a good job on Condamine River Road.
He said that the local tourism sector is simply playing a waiting game until the economic situation improves.
He said grants and recovery funds are now drying up from the state and federal governments.
The KAPA AGM will be held on Wednesday 7 September at 6 pm at the Bowls Club.