SNUBBED: Comm Games baton run bypasses Northern Rivers
Update 9.55am: Member for Page Kevin Hogan said he's extremely disappointed with the decision of the organisers of the 2018 Commonwealth Games to bypass the Northern Rivers.
Mr Hogan said they have lost the perfect opportunity to engage with the region by excluding the area in the Queen's Baton Run.
"At best it's an oversight at worst it's rude," he said.
"This would have been wonderful for the baton to move around our region and for us to feel included, it's not an OK decision."
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Original story, 5am: OFFICIALS for the 2018 Commonwealth Games have chosen to bypass the whole Northern Rivers for the Queen's Baton run.
Unlike the 2000 Olympic Games, when the Queen's Baton arrives in Australia on 24 December 2017 for it's 40,000km journey, finishing on the Gold Coast for the CG opening ceremony on April 4, 2018, it will not pass through and part of northern New South Wales.
In a sporting, economic and cultural slight, the Baton commences in Canberra and then travels through every state and territory over 100 days to finish on the Gold Coast, but will not pass through NSW any further north than Coffs Harbour.
Ballina mayor David Wright is furious, considering many visiting teams will be staying and training in the region ahead of the event.
"If we are good enough to have the Olympic flame on the Ignite the Dream Tour and 25,000 people celebrating at Saunders Oval which was the very biggest thing since Ben Hur, then we should have the Queen's Baton pass through here too," he said.
"I'm incredibly upset, gobsmacked, this beggars belief, as we will have $14 million worth of pools ready for teams and many are staying and training (here) ahead of the Games."
Lismore mayor Isaac Smith said he feels the organisers have made the wrong decision by excluding the Northern Rivers from the baton route.
"It's a very disappointing given it's on our doorstep, our status as a sporting hub for the region and we are a prime target for the Commonwealth Games," he said.
"The baton run is supposed to get everyone excited and our community would have loved to have been involved in some way."
Ballina Shire resident and dual gold Commonwealth gold netball medallist Liz Ellis, said it's a great pity the baton is bypassing the region.
"I'm honoured to be a baton bearer and will be heading down to Bellingen to do that," she said.
"But I would have loved it to be somewhere closer to my adopted home."
But a Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) spokesperson said unfortunately, it is impossible for the QBR to go everywhere.
"Celebration communities have been selected through a collaborative decision process between the state working group and GOLDOC, keeping within the geographic challenges, operational constraints on timing and predetermined dates for the Queen's Baton Relay," the spokesperson said.
"The Relay has been designed to be as inclusive as possible while also spending quality time in communities."
The spokesperson said they encourage everyone to identify their closest Relay community and be a part of the celebrations.
"The closest celebration communities for residents from the Northern Rivers region of NSW are Coffs Harbour and the Gold Coast," the spokesperson said.