New Mardi Gras Chair David Imrie has categorically denied media reports that the parade could be shifted to Homebush, saying that a move has never been on the agenda, though suggestions have been raised.
Reports last week that the NMG Board were considering moving the parade to the Homebush stadium may have sparked debate about where the epicentre of gay culture now lies, but have been claimed as false by the New Mardi Gras Chair.
It’s not on the radar, it’s not going to happen, Imrie flatly told the Sydney Star Observer.
The parade is where the parade is. It’s not in any way part of our future planning agenda to move it. We get suggestions continually of different places we can have it – it’s even been suggested that we run it across the Harbour Bridge, but it’s not going to happen, he said before claiming that the initial story had come from a selection of snippets from different interviews, taken out of context.
Some who read the story were not totally opposed to the idea however, recognising that there is a considerable GLBT population now living in Sydney’s inner and outer Western suburbs.
President of the Pride History Group and former 78er, Dianne Minnis was one to recognise the possible benefits of such a move.
I am torn because yes it would get away from the historical aspects of the parade but by the same token, after serving on the board of New Mardi Gras for three years I’m aware of the logistical difficulties of the area and I can see the attractiveness of moving to a site that has a lot more capacity to take big crowds and do it safely.
It’s also true, particularly of lesbians, that many are living in the Western suburbs and Marrickville and Leichhardt aren’t really that far from Homebush, she said before adding that, if any such decision was to be made in the future that it would be critical to hold community consultations.
Attempts to further engage GLBT people of the western suburbs could be on the agenda though with Imrie confirming that Events NSW had offered the use of Homebush.
We were given the opportunity to consider using it for an event sometime in the future if we wished, but not in the context of our current portfolio of events, Imrie said.
If we wanted to run an event that was suitable for that venue then it’s there for the taking but at no point in time have [the State Government] said that we should have the parade out there.