Sunday, June 15, 2008

World Youth Day Struggles

Sydney's major Pope-fest, the World Youth Day, seems to be in trouble.
Reports say that initial estimates of 70% hotel occupancy rates during the event have been scaled back to no more than 30%, and now the church has backed away from a commitment to pay for any damage to Hyde Park.
The church is refusing to pay a $150,000 upfront bond for use of the park, saying the state government should be responsible.
Mayor Clover Moore said if they don't pay the bond they won't be allowed to use the park.
She told the Sydney Morning Herald, "The City supports the event, but not at the expense of our most famous park. WYD organisers have applied to install structures in many parts of Hyde Park, some of which will be in place from June 20 to August 1. There is no question that many of the grassed areas of Hyde Park will need to be re-turfed after this event but now, just weeks before it's due to start, organisers are backing down on a commitment to fully fund the cost of restoring Hyde Park to its pre-WYD condition."
Moore said that overall the event would cost the city $2.2m.

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