Clubs driven out by car rally
SOME of the Tweed's biggest sports clubs have been told to give up their home grounds to host World Car Rally events in September - displacing hundreds of players, mostly youngsters, during their semi-finals and finals.
But some are making the best of the situation to put pressure on rally organisers to cough up funds for much-needed facilities that will leave a long-lasting benefit.
The disruption to the clubs has been outlined in a secret Tweed Shire Council report, which councillors tried to keep under wraps by using a new media gag, until Greens Councillor Katie Milne went public earlier this week.
The report criticises the possible ecological impacts of the rally, plus measures to offset these, but then goes on to warn of the imposition on displaced sports groups.
They include clubs using the Walter Peate sportsfield at Kingscliff, which is to be turned into a rally car pit-lane service centre; and the Jim Devine and Queens Park sports grounds in Murwillumbah, where rally cars and participants in the associated Speed on Tweed historic car displays will be marshalled.
Some clubs are turning the disruption into opportunity, asking Rally Australia for a public 'show of goodwill' in the form of dollars.
Kingscliff Soccer Club president Alex Kamaoui said his club paid sportsfield leasing fees of $4000 a year 'and then another organisation is going to kick us out'.
He said it was only fair that Rally Australia paid 'compensation' because the club would lose funds from its home-base canteen, 'our biggest fundraiser for our club, especially at the final when you get a lot of people come to watch the game'.
However, Mr Kamaoui said he was frustrated Rally Australia was not getting back to the club with a definite response.
Club vice-president Peter Gladwin said it was right in the middle of the finals for all ages from 11 to 13 and the women.
“Initially our club said 'no', but after further negotiations we agreed to relocate our final games and field use across to the Reg Dalton Oval,” Mr Gladwin said.
A rally spokesperson was unavailable for comment.