COUNCILLORS want to see the Autumn Colours Program go back to being a printed product in 2018.
Bathurst Regional Council’s decision to make the program an online-only publication was not received well by the community, particularly its elderly members.
When the Western Advocate polled readers in February, 83 per cent of respondents said they preferred having a physical booklet.
At the last council meeting, councillor Ian North said that feedback he’d heard on the Autumn Colours Program had been “largely negative”.
“A lot of elderly people in the community enjoy the booklet; they can put it on their calendar looking ahead and book out what they want to do,” he said.
“Just a lot of feedback is that ‘I’ve got to get online and get the information’ and they are a little disappointed by that.”
Cr North said that, as this was the first year the booklet was only available online, council should look into whether booking numbers had been affected.
“It is great seeing booklets like this, but can we review it after this year’s festival as far as numbers and attending?” he said at the meeting.
Cr Monica Morse followed up his comments, saying that not having a physical copy showed a lack of understanding of the challenges faced by certain groups in the community.
“We are supposed to as a city be aware of the aging population, but we seem to be getting more [prone] to putting things on the internet when the older people can’t get at it, can’t read it, can’t understand it, don’t have the internet on,” she said.
“The Autumn Colours – people don’t like it on the internet. It is very fine for the people in Sydney, but we have to look after our community and more and more of our community are the older people who go to these functions.”
Cr Morse said council was putting a lot of items, which it is seeking engagement for, on the internet without thinking about how inaccessible it can be.
“We are ignoring a huge part of our demographic recently,” she said.
Autumn Colours is a three-month program that runs from the beginning of March through until the end of May each year.
It acts as a directory of major events coming up in the community, including ceremonies, community and sporting events and tours.
Visit www.autumncolours.com.au to view the program.