PLANS to hold an international, light-filled Harry Potter-themed show at The Briars, Mount Martha have been labelled “inappropriate” and against the ethos of the wildlife sanctuary’s role to protect wildlife.
The international Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience is due to open at the Mornington Peninsula Shire reserve in April, it’s only Victorian venue.
Promotional material for the interactive show says it will be an “outdoor trail experience inspired by the iconic Forbidden Forest and features creatures from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series.
“Mesmerising lights will set The Briars of Mount Martha aglow as fans of all ages discover some of their favourite moments from the Forbidden Forest along the way, encountering mystical creatures such as Hippogriffs, Unicorns, and Nifﬂers, with a chance to practice casting their very own spells.”
The contract to bring the show to the Mornington Peninsula has been kept tightly under wraps for months, with the announcement only made on Wednesday 13 December, after negotiations were confirmed.
It has been described as a major coup by Cr Steve Holland, who posted about the “big news” on social media and described it as “exclusive to The Briars”.
It is also expected to be a lucrative move for the organisers, who will undoubtedly recover any outlay from food and drink, as well as gift shop merchandise from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies.
Former state government deputy public health commander for COVID, and one-time Voices of Mornington Peninsula candidate in Flinders, Claire Boardman, questioned the suitability of a wildlife sanctuary for an evening light show, with most native animals being nocturnal.
“It’s a wildlife sanctuary, or is it an entertainment venue, the council needs to hold true to its values of caring for wildlife,” she said.
“I’m not sure the values caring for wildlife are compatible with holding evening entertainment with lots of lights and noise.”
The show has also been questioned by several posters on social media, with most suggesting the light show will be disruptive and create unnecessary stress for wildlife.
The show’s organisers and Mornington Peninsula Shire Council were contacted for comment.