Little support for rally holiday

TWEED Shire Council staff are recommending plans for a public holiday for the world car rally championships here in September should be scuttled.

Councillors, who today are due to consider a request for the holiday from Repco Rally Australia, have been told opposition has been voiced by business groups, Tweed Tourism and several individuals.

The council's director of corporate services Troy Green has recommended councillors not proceed with an application to declare the public holiday of Friday, September 4 - the second day of the planned rally.

Organisers had hoped for the public holiday, pointing out that the Tweed does not have a holiday for the Murwillumbah Show or for horse racing - unlike most other regional centres in NSW.

But last week they conceded businesses had voiced concern and they would have to plan around usual business and school activities on the Friday, which shopkeepers warned was one of the best trading days of the week.

Following a decision two months ago to call for public views on whether a holiday should be declared, the council received letters opposing the idea from the Murwillumbah and District Business Chamber, the Kingscliff and District Chamber of Commerce and even the peak local tourism body, Tweed Tourism.

Tweed Tourism general manager Phil Villiers said the group's board had decided not to back the holiday proposal even though it supported the rally because “a public holiday in any part of the shire would not be advantageous for our members and would be too disruptive to the greater community”.

However the board suggested organisers contact schools to explore the possibility of declaring the Friday an “educational excursion day” to take advantage of the educational opportunities offered by the rally.

Last week it was revealed Murwillumbah businesses felt a public holiday would be too big an inconvenience on one of the best trading days of the week.

The rally is due to be held from Thursday, September 3 to Sunday, September 6 on mostly isolated gravel roads in Tweed and Kyogle Shires.

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