Kyogle mayor fights for rally
KYOGLE Council mayor Ross Brown isn’t happy the vocal protests of a small number of people could cost the region the Australian round of the Repco World Rally event.
“The overwhelming majority – close to 80 per cent – of Kyogle people are supportive of a continued association with the rally,” he said.
“The fact that the feelings of the majority could be put in jeopardy by a small number of vocal protesters is of concern.
“The acceptance has to be that the majority of the community want the rally here and we have to work towards that consensus.”
Cr Brown, who together with the council’s general manager, Arthur Piggott, met with representatives of the Homebush Motor Racing Authority (HMRA) last Thursday, said any attempt to relocate the rally would be a concern from council’s point of view.
“It devalues the money the council has already invested – an investment made on the basis that there would be five events over 11 years,” he said.
Cr Brown’s comments follow the release last week of an independent review of the 2009 rally and continued strident opposition to the event by a number of anti-rally groups.
Although the review, commissioned by the HMRA, found there was no reason for the rally not to go ahead next year, Rally Australia chairman Alan Evans reportedly said in a radio interview last week they may look at moving next year’s rally to Coffs Harbour.
The review acknowledged the ‘zealous and enduring opposition to the rally’, but found it came from a ‘tiny minority’ of people.
It also found no evidence of any significant damage to the environment by the rally, which the report estimates generated $16.9 million in new economic activity in the Northern Rivers region.
Anti-rally groups slammed the report and have vowed to continue their fight to stop the event locally.
Andrea Vickers, from the No Rally Group, told The Northern Star the report attempted to represent opposition to the rally as marginal and radical and overstated the economic benefits of the event.