BEASTLY: Councillor Cadwallader suggests camel races may be an alternative to losing our local holidays.  Artwork: OBELIA McCOR
BEASTLY: Councillor Cadwallader suggests camel races may be an alternative to losing our local holidays. Artwork: OBELIA McCOR

Could camels save cup days?

By Alex Easton

BALLINA and Lismore residents could lose their cup day public holidays if horse flu forces the cancellation of the races.

But racing camels may come to the rescue.

NSW Industrial Relations Minister John Della Bosca yesterday confirmed he was considering scrapping or rescheduling upcoming regional race day and show holidays.

Ballina councillor and NSW Business Chamber regional manager Sharon Cadwallader said businesses could not afford holidays without the races.

However, Cr Cadwallader said she wanted to save the Ballina Cup by replacing the quarantined horses with camels.

Cr Cadwallader said businesses used the cup as an investment in networking, and without the results that investment yielded, could not afford the holiday.

Lismore Unlimited Opportunities chairman Mark Willoughby said the holiday made little sense without the race day.

Manager of Ballina's Summerland Sports, Michael Latimer, said having the holiday without the cup could boost trading on the day if it meant more families were shopping in town.

However, if the races were scrapped the holidays should go with them, he said.

Mr Della Bosca said he would write to regional councils before deciding whether to scrap or reschedule holidays tied to up-coming race days and shows.

"The legislation which allows the granting of local public holidays also allows me to cancel or substitute the holiday if these circumstances arise," he said.

"As part of this consultation process councils are asked to provide evidence of their community's support to either retain the holiday or reschedule it for another day.

"Once we have received their submission and comments the decision will be made."

However, Cr Cadwallader said she wanted to keep the cup going; without the horses if necessary.

"There are camels you can get specifically for novelty races," Cr Cadwallader said.

Cr Cadwallader proposed the novelty camel races, combined with a limited field of horses from the area around Ballina race course to keep the cup alive through the horse flu crisis.

"The racing industry is a great industry, but we may need to look at alternatives," she said.

Ballina Jockey Club secretary-manager Steve Taylor said he would be happy to consider a%novelty camel race, but ruled%out any type of limited horse race.



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