Councillor Katie Milne.
Councillor Katie Milne. Tweed Daily News

'Business should help fund surf titles'

KINGSCLIFF businesses rather than Tweed ratepayers should be the ones financially supporting planned state surf life saving championships in 2011 and 2012, according to Tweed's Greens Party councillor Katie Milne.

Cr Milne late yesterday unsuccessfully tried to defer moves for the council to stump up $80,000 in a bid to bring the championships to the Tweed Coast along with 12,000 spectators the organisers claim would flock to each annual event.

She was out-voted by all other councillors - apart from former Kingscliff cafe owner Dot Holdom who left the council chamber after declaring a conflict of interest.

Cr Holdom said her husband Kim was vice-president of the Cudgen Headland Surf Life Saving Club which hopes to host the events.

“This is a major decision to make with our budget being so tight,” Cr Milne said. “Yet here we are acting like a business support agency.

“If this is such a great money spinner why aren't businesses coming on board to sponsor it?

“I've great concerns when we dedicate all our festival money to these great events that there is little left for community events.”

Cr Milne said she was sure “our local Banana Festival which has been around for quite a while” and is currently underway would “be very happy with $80,000”.

“I'm not saying I'm against this,” she later added. “I just believe the business houses should get together and support it.”

Other councillors threw their support behind providing $80,000 which council general manager Mike Rayner said should be set aside to fund management and meet the requirements of an expression of interest to host the championships.

“It's a great idea,” said Cr Phil Youngblutt. “All these major events certainly help the economy.

“It would be very short-sighted not to do this. It's a function of a council to try to pull these types of things into an area.”

Cr Kevin Skinner said hosting the event would be a “win-win” situation.

“I agree the business houses will profit but so will the general community,” he said.

“To not support this would be absolutely, to my mind, ludicrous.”

Mayor Joan van Lieshout said the surf championships were the “type of image we want for the shire” whereas the controversial world car rally championships to be held next month were “not the image we all wanted”.

“This is a wonderful opportunity. This is the type of thing we should be encouraging,” she added.

The councillors voted five to one to ask staff to prepare a formal proposal to Surf Life Saving NSW to host the state championships over the two years.

In a report to the councillors Mr Rayner said organisers claimed the championships would attract 12,000 spectators, 8000 competitors and 600 officials and the events would give “a significant economic benefit for the host town and local region”.

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