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Power boats to save Rivafest

Crowds line the Richmond River in Ballina at Rivafest 2009 .
Crowds line the Richmond River in Ballina at Rivafest 2009 . Doug Eaton

THE power boats could be back on the Richmond River as part of Ballina Shire’s annual festival.

After last week’s council decision to call for expressions of interest from community groups to co-ordinate the annual Rivafest event, Mike Dean sees an opportunity to bring back the boats, and is keen to get a committee together to run the event.

For Mr Dean, it is a return to the past.

He is the former president of Ballina Alive, which ran the Ballina Alive event, featuring power boat racing, for five years from 2002 as a fundraiser for the Combined Service Clubs of Ballina’s youth projects.

Ballina Tourism secretary Dave Heggie doesn’t have a problem with the boats on the river, with his group also keen to put in anexpression of interest for the annual festival.

Council made the decision to call for another group to run the event after costs last year blew out by $36,500, after it budgeted $47,000 to run the festival.

The total cost of the two-day event was $304,000, with $177,000 coming from in-kind contributions. Other funding came from sponsorship, ticket sales, supplier fees and grants. The event attracted about 10,000people.

Rivafest has run at a loss for the past four years.

Problems with insurance saw Ballina Shire Council come on board in 2004 for the first Rivafest, and the combined land and water-based festival was born.

Council will consider the expressions of interest and make a decision in April.



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