UNI GAMES A $3m BOOST FOR COFFS
By BELINDA SCOTT
MILLIONS of dollars will be pumped into the Coffs Harbour economy this week, but most of the visitors are trying hard not to spend it.
More than 3500 university sportsmen and women are in town for the 2006 Eastern University Games, plus coaches and supporters, but lean cuisine and trips to IGA were trumping champagne and caviar yesterday as the University of Sydney women's ten-pin bowling team prepared for their first game.
Most said they were trying to spend as little as possible, although one bowler said she would spend 'as much as my parents will let me'.
"I've got $500 left in my account so that's the maximum; 'as little as possible' and 'minimalistic' were typical comments," she said.
Last month, the mayor of Coffs Harbour, Cr Keith Rhoades, predicted the Games would mean a $3 million boost for the city and yesterday Plantation Hotel licensee Harry Barry said he thought this figure was 'a safe bet'.
The director of the Coffs Harbour City Council's Sports Unit, Ben Payne, said most competitors were staying in town for six nights, not five.
"The top third of them are really serious about the sport. The other two-thirds are here to have a holiday and good time," Mr Payne said.
With about 4000 students in town, all looking to have a good time, Mr Barry said they would spend their money not just in hotels but everywhere from newsagents to shops selling cornflakes. He said the week was 'like having five Saturdays in a row'.
The Plantation Hotel and the Coffs Ex-Services Club are the two venues for official games social events.
The licensee of the Coffs Harbour Hotel, Marty Phillips, said the hotel had served more than 200 meals on Sunday night and 'lots of beer'.
He predicted the bulk of the students' spending would be in pubs and backpackers hostels, but hamburger shops and supermarkets would also benefit.