Decision made on popular Proserpine sports carnival
MORE than 4000 people were predicted to land in Proserpine for this year's Paul Bowman Cup rugby league carnival.
Sadly, due to uncertainty around the future of large gatherings due to coronavirus restrictions, the popular event has been added to the long list of event cancellations in 2020.
Proserpine Junior Rugby League club president Cameron Bennett said it was a decision the club didn't take lightly, but with no definitive answers about on how COVID-19 measures would be relaxed or introduced, "a decision had to be made".
He said about 1200 players and more than 4000 people descended on Proserpine for the annual carnival last year, which is usually held on the first weekend of the September school holidays.
"The last thing we ever wanted to do was cancel the carnival, but it takes about six months of planning to organise something of this size," he said.
"There's just too much uncertainty at the moment and it's unlikely that by September we would be allowed to be anywhere near the numbers that come to town.
"Every other carnival in the state has pulled the pin as well, we're all in the same boat unfortunately."
Mr Bennett said one of the most difficult parts of the carnival's cancellation was knowing the financial impact it would have on Proserpine.
Last year's event fully booked-out motels and caravan parks and gave restaurants and take-away businesses a strong trade.
"The carnival supports motels, pubs, restaurants and brings lots of income to the region - it wasn't an easy decision to make," he said.
"But it just wouldn't have been fair to the community to try and continue on with it. The last thing we want to do is be the event that could potentially bring coronavirus to the region.
"We wanted so badly to help the community when it needed it the most, but it's just out of our control."
However, there's good news for young rugby league stars, with the event ready to return bigger and stronger in 2021.
"The carnival has been around for more than a decade and is a community favourite, nothing will stop us bringing it back again next year if it's possible," Mr Bennett said.
The 2021 carnival is currently planned to take place on September 18-19, 2021.