Rally return welcome
EDITOR'S NOTE: Tweed Daily News published a story on Friday’s back page, titled “World Rally to return,” which contained incorrect information. The article, written by Australian Associated Press, stated that rock throwing had occurred during the Australian round of the World Rally Series in Tweed last year. This is incorrect. Police have previously confirmed that despite initial reports, protesters did not throw rocks at drivers. The Tweed Daily News sincerely apologises for the mistake and any inconvenience caused.
MURWILLUMBAH business owners are preparing to capitalise on the thousands of people expected to return to the area for the World Rally Championship (WRC) next year.
Rally Australia (RA) counted 87,000 spectators at the inaugural Northern Rivers event last year, a record for any rally in Australia and chairman Alan Evans said the television audience was the second largest of any 2010 WRC event.
A legislated review of the controversial rally is still to be tabled in State Parliament, but it is believed it will show RA had a negligible impact on the environment and brought significant economic benefits to the shire – with the majority of residents in support of its location at the Northern Rivers.
An online Tweed Daily News poll taken over the weekend showed 61 per cent of respondents wanted the WRC to return to the shire in 2011.
Related: Anti-rally protest to continue
Murwillumbah and District Chamber of Commerce president Toni Zuschke said valuable lessons had been learnt last year.
“As far as the Chamber of Commerce is concerned, we have one rally under our belt and now we have the experience to capitalise on the next event,” she said.
Tweed Tourism general manager Phil Villiers said Tweed’s tourism industry got a major boost from the rally.
“Certainly, the Tweed did really well from an accommodation perspective and a large number of day trippers came into the area throughout the event,” he said.
On Saturday, the No Rally Group vowed to continue protesting until the Tweed Shire no longer hosted the rally cars, but Mr Villiers said they did not reflect the majority.
“Obviously, parts of the community had issues with the rally and we at Tweed Tourism acknowledge they had a right to say that through peaceful protest,” Mr Villiers said.
“But when you look at the community as a whole, most people saw it as a positive,” he said.
Mrs Zuschke said protesters went too far last year.