A leg of the World Rally will be staged in Coffs.
A leg of the World Rally will be staged in Coffs.

Chamber left out of rally plans

COFFS Harbour Chamber of Commerce has given the local leg of the 2011 World Rally Championships only ‘qualified’ support pending more information.

The president of the chamber, Peter Lubans, said while they certainly supported anything which generated publicity and income for the area, he did not see the event as being ‘a big story’ until they discovered what it was going to cost the council and the ratepayers and how long it would remain in the area.

Mr Lubans said none of Coffs Harbour’s major representative business bodies were consulted by Coffs Harbour City Council before the public announcement of the successful bid for a leg of the 2011 Australian Rally Championships, which had proved embarrassing when he was asked by news organisations to comment before the formal announcement.

Mr Lubans said it was rumoured Northern NSW councils had spent more than $100,000 to host the event.

Coffs Harbour mayor Cr Keith Rhoades said every business member of the chamber would realise that confidentiality was essential in trying to gain a contract, to prevent ‘gazumping’ by other cities or States and a council was run like a business.

He said support for the event was both in direct financial and in-kind support by bringing forward the maintenance program on rural roads, a cost which would be offset by the normal maintenance budget but the total price was commercial in confidence.

As for the longevity of the event the mayor said “we are still working on that.”

Cr Rhoades said due to the State legislation in place to protect the event, which included route details of streets, they were only able to apply for approval for one year at a time.

But he said over four or five years, the event could bring $100 million to the Coffs Coast.

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