Race day holiday up for debate once again
MORE than 150 submissions were received in relation to the part day public holiday for the Coffs Harbour Gold Cup.
Coffs Harbour City Council conducted the public consultation from August 29 to September 25. A slight majority of responses were in support of continuing to apply for the holiday with a number of alternatives put forward.
There were a total of 181 responses with approximately 75 per cent from locals.
A recommendation from staff to continue applying for the part day holiday will be presented to councillors at their meeting on Thursday afternoon.
Council must, on a biennial basis, apply to the State Government to have it declared under the Public Holidays Act 2010. As part of this application, Council is required to carry out public consultation to consider the impacts, costs and benefits.
Approximately 103 of the submissions supported the continuation of the part day public holiday with 39 against.
There were a number of other submissions suggesting making it a full day holiday while others supported the more flexible 'event day' option.
The public holiday leads to significant disruption for school communities with buses only available in the morning to take students to school but not back home again in the afternoon.
There is also an impact on businesses in relation to penalty rates.
The annual race is hosted by the Coffs Harbour Racing Club on the first Thursday in August.
Some of the submissions received in the recent round of consultation suggested moving the event to a Saturday or Sunday.
The racing club has spoken out against some of these options in the past saying a Saturday race meet would be up against Sydney races and Sundays tend to be low revenue days.
The Animal Justice Party Coffs Harbour Regional Group made a submission stating their opposition to the holiday and outlining some alternatives.
Representatives from the group, Kellie Pearce and Tess Hawkins, will address councillors at their meeting on Thursday at 5pm urging them to vote against the recommendation to continue with the part day public holiday.
"There are much better causes for which you could have a holiday like a tree planting festival or a music festival that children could participate in," Ms Hawkins said.
"We're extremely disappointed about the recommendation, particularly in light of the ABC 7.30 Report's exposure of the brutal slaughter of 4000 ex-racehorses."