Assurances over Festivale effects

FESTIVALE organisers have dismissed concerns by the City Park children's train driver that this week's event will damage one of Australia's best recreation areas.

Festivale will be held in the City Park from Friday to Sunday to showcase the best of Tasmanian food, wine, beer, arts and entertainment.

But Peter Douglas, who drives the novelty train through City Park each day, said yesterday that   the area, which is rated as one of Australia's best parks, could not take the strain of 45,000 visitors in three days.

Added to the wear and tear on the grass, trees and other plants,  each year there was damage to park fittings and the constant safety fear of falling tree limbs.

He said he was in the park daily, which was more than park staff, and thought the event should be moved to the Inveresk market site.

A Festivale spokeswoman said there were no plans to relocate to Inveresk and the park was always left in a satisfactory condition.

``We have very experienced staff and an events team that works closely with all our stallholders, contractors and suppliers to ensure the event is staged in a very safe manner,'' she said.

``And that everyone understands their responsibility to look after this wonderful asset while in use for Festivale.

``We have a park inspection with council prior to the event so any potential risks or issues can be addressed.''

Launceston City Council general manager Robert Dobrzynski said the City Park was used by thousands each year and was robust enough to perform well and be safe.

``City Park exists for the community and visitors to enjoy, whether it is in conjunction with a showcase community celebration event like Festivale, of which we are all proud, or on any other day of the year,'' he said.

He said the grass had recovered within a month of the event, and Festivale staff did nearly all the clean-up  and paid for any damage.

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