Loss of race a blow for Kyogle
BUSINESS owners in Kyogle are devastated by the decision to move the controversial Rally Australia out of their district.
The event will be held in Coffs Harbour this year, leaving shopowners like Max Kassebaum saddened by the thought of losing the community buzz and financial boost that result from the event.
After asking if the decision was final, Mr Kassebaum sighed and said, “I am absolutely gutted.”
“We read the paper this morning, but we were talking about whether it really was the final decision,” the Kyogle Bakery owner said.
“We are just deflated. Now I have to go tell my 28 staff it’s not coming back.
“The officials told us last year that we had given the ultimate service.
“We met with them months before to find out what they wanted and we stepped outside of our square to service the rally.
“We wanted to make it perfect for them and now we are disappointed. They kept saying ‘we will be back’.
“A lot of conversations people have here are ‘when the rally happens this year we will do this or that at the rally this year, or we aregoing to do something different this time’.
“How can a minority have such an effect on a large event like this?”
Mr Kassebaum opened his business 24 hours a day during last year’s rally last year and said people in Kyogle now feel ‘ripped off’.
He recently installed new cold room compartments to store larger volumes of food to cater for this year’s event, but fortunately entered ‘new markets’ so the facilities won’t be a complete waste.
“If I can say one thing to (the organisers) it is, could you please reconsider,” he said.
“We want the rally back. If it is back here it would be the golden handshake for us.”
Kyogle Chamber of Commerce president Joanne Moore said there was ‘no way businesses are notgoing to lose’.
“The way the economy has been lately, a little boost would have been good,” she said.
“It did make a big difference. The food places especially had a field day.
“As a town, I have never seen it buzz like it was during the rally.
“Everyone is disappointed, even the services clubs, like the Lions, who raised $13,000 last year and that money went back into the community.
“But I know that (State Member for Lismore) Thomas George and (former Kyogle mayor) Ross Brown fought hard to keep this event.”
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