I’ve lived in Cook for almost 3 years now and I’d say the biggest thing to happen to the local community in recent years has been the closing of the local school. Something I noted more because my 2yo was enrolled there at the time it got shut down & I was faced with prospect of having to think about sending him to another one. Certainly a very insular view on my part but then its funny how you dont really think of these things being something that really ties a community together, more so when you’re slightly on the outer (like not having kids involved).
Those more directly affected by the decision banded together again last weekend to organise the 3rd annual Cook Community Blue Sky Kite Festival. The festival itself certainly may have had its origins as an event showing community spirit in the face of a government set on consulting about a foregone conclusion but this year was not about that. It was a day in the sun with little more intent than getting together with children to enjoy each others company, make and fly some kites and have a great time. Even a local resident who’s running for election this weekend who could have used the event to gain political points came along without any fanfare, signs or business cards to announce his presence.
(Slideshow and more below)
Its hard to fault a day like last saturday to hold such an event. kids running all over the place with blue kites in tow, some larger ones flying above whilst members of the former cook primary P&C spent the last remaining dollars of their kitty putting on a free barbeque for the 120 or so local residents who attended. Event the paper plate snake kite thingy put together as a collaborative effort got off the ground breifly in the inconsistent breeze and was great fun for everyone involved although elicited a few tears from the younger ones as people dove for cover under its low flight trajectory. I spent several hours there longer than i’d intended, getting thoroughly sunburned and laughing uncontrollably as i chased my son and my niece around alternatively flying kites or lazing about on the grass with little more thought than what an awesome idea it was, and why weren’t there more like it.
On speaking with Jodie (one of the organisers) I was surprised to discover that the request to use the old school hall which has been converted in purpose to a community hall was denied by TAMS on the grounds that the event was seen to be a politically motivated this close to the election. Yet there was hardly a political slogan in sight, and certainly none that favored one candidacy over any other. Decisions like that do make me wonder if there is any future for a community events like the Cook Communtiy Kite festival and whether the government even cares. I worry that with no support groups like this one face an uphill battle to stop their community becoming a stop over point where residents rest their heads overnight before travelling to other, more interesting, places.