Popular Sydney reserve to open to the public for New Year’s Eve following ticketing fail

An attempt to cash in on the popularity of one of Sydney’s best vantage points to see the New Year’s fireworks has been abandoned.

North Sydney Council was accused of “killing New Year’s Eve” by trialling ticketing at the 2018 festivities, but has decided to open the site back up to the public this year.

North Sydney Council voted unanimously to “acknowledge the difficulties” that came from introducing ticketing at Blues Point Reserve and to explore “alternative options of managing the crowds”.

Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald, Mayor Jilly Gibson said she was flooded with complaints from residents and business owners who said the area had been turned into a “ghost town”.

“I had phone calls actually on New Year’s Eve telling me how dead it was,” she said. “We were accused of killing the atmosphere, of killing New Year’s Eve. You could see that was pretty disappointing.”

The reserve usually saw around 15,000 people come to watch the spectacular display, but only four and a half thousand tickets were sold, at a cost of $40 for an adult and $20 for a child.

The council had raised a total of $169,600 compared to the cost of the event which was $180,000.

“I would like to make it clear that council did not make money from this event,” Gibson told The Sydney Morning Herald, adding that the ticketing trail was implemented in response to overcrowding concerns.

“As other areas around the harbour have become ticketed events, that’s encouraged more people to come into the North Sydney municipality,” she said. “The safety of our residents and visitors to our parks is our paramount concern.”