Council will learn from Charity Shield problems, says Cam

The 2018 Charity Shield may have set attendance records and brought millions into the Mudgee economy but not everybody was happy.

A large number of people took to social media in the days after the game to voice their concerns over long queues into Glen Willow for the game and to cross the suspension bridge into town after the game.

Some said long wait times soured their experience and have said they would be reluctant to attend another fixture unless the problem could be corrected.

Mudgee resident David Taylor said he was concerned people would be discouraged from coming back because of negative experiences.

Rachael Innes took this photo of people wading across the Cudgegong River instead of waiting for the suspension bridge on Saturday night. Photo: RACHAEL INNES/ FACEBOOK

Rachael Innes took this photo of people wading across the Cudgegong River instead of waiting for the suspension bridge on Saturday night. Photo: RACHAEL INNES/ FACEBOOK

“I waited in line for an hour to get into a venue that I’d paid for while a game was going on inside.

“It wasn’t just me. I had about 20 people around me and 60 per cent of those people said to me they didn’t intend to come back.”

Mid-Western Regional Council general manager Brad Cam said lessons had been learned and there would be changes for the next major match, the Round 11 NRL game between St Illawarra and the Canberra Raiders.

“We well publicised that the gates would open at 5.15pm and I think we were a little taken aback when most of us arrived there at about 4.45pm to find extensive queues,” Mr Cam said.

“We’d already pre-planned for our security people to be there just prior to the 5.15pm gate opening. We ended up opening a little earlier any way.”

Mr Cam said the queue was cleared as quickly as possible and flowed quickly after that.

“But we’ve learned from that, we’re a bit shocked that many people we’re queued ready to come into the ground, it’s not something that we’ve seen before at any of the other games we’ve had,” he said.

Kerry Hunt said he enjoyed the match but when it came time to leave the ground and head home, they had long delays trying to cross the suspension bridge.

“It took three-quarters of an hour for us to get back into town because there was a prolonged wait at the suspension bridge,” Mr Hunt said.

“They were only letting nine or 10 cross at a time. We saw dozens of people who ended up wading across the river to avoid the wait.

“It’s a shame that after such a wonderful spectacle, there were so many complaints.”

Mr Cam conceded there were delays for people who used the suspension bridge but the numbers were restricted to make it more user friendly.

“That was just for comfort purposes. It is a suspension bridge and it will continue to move and at the last game people were uncomfortable walking across with that movement.

“So we just slowed the movement of people over the bridge and across the length of it, at any one time there probably would’ve been at least 80 or 90 people on the bridge. There was a continuous movement of people through

He said the new Holyoake Bridge was the quicker option and the one used by 70 per cent of people.

“We’ll learn from this one and think about how we handle it better in the future,” he said.

“Any other event that we’ve had has been around the 7-8,000, this was 9,100 and when you’re talking about that extra thousand or more people leaving all at once it puts that pressure.

There were also complaints not enough toilets were available for spectators and that beer ran out during the match.