Benalla Rural City will offer to underwrite the full $20000 cost of holding Stage 1 of Australia’s largest cycling event, the Herald Sun Bike Tour.
In an about-face on its original decision to offer just $7000 to organisers of the race, councillors unanimously decided instead to offer the full funding requested by GTR Events of $10000 for marketing and infrastructure and a further $10000 in-kind for council to provide traffic and waste management.
The proposal is for the February 2017 event to start in Fawckner Dve with the race heading to Myrtleford, Bright and finishing at Mt Beauty.
Councillor Peter Davis told last week’s Ordinary Meeting of Council that he was not comfortable with the previous meeting’s decision to suggest the event organisers seek out more local sponsorship themselves.
‘‘I don’t believe it really shows that we’re really interested in that event,’’ Cr Davis said.
‘‘There’s other people knocking on the door to get the start of that event. I’ve asked several people in the last week since our meeting and the motion that I want to put up is that we put $10000 in cash and $10000 in kind.’’
Cr Andrew Vale seconded the motion.
‘‘The reason being I feel that these are the sort of events that you don’t pass up and as far as I’m concerned giving $2000 in cash and $5000 in-kind support would be passing it up, on reflection,’’ Cr Vale said.
‘‘This is a showcase event showcasing Benalla. It’s got a lot of publicity, television rights and having the start of it is probably fantastic for Benalla,’’ Cr Davis said.
‘‘I’ve asked quite a few people about it and some would rather have the money spent on potholes and roads, but they’ve agreed we really should chase this event.
‘‘We have the money to cover it if we have to. We have the $12000 major events calender (sic) in our budget.
‘‘I don’t believe we’ll have to use it because I believe we’ll be able to get that money.
‘‘As Cr Vale said, we cannot let these opportunities go past.
‘‘We don’t get many of them and to have that event and to have the World Gliding Championships event here it starts Benalla off in a really good frame for the first quarter of next year.
‘‘All we need is a few more events and this town will be rocking.’’
However, Benalla Rural City Council chief executive officer Tony McIlroy pointed out that the $12000 had largely already been allocated.
‘‘That $12000 is not there,’’ Mr McIlroy said.
‘‘It won’t cover the $10000, but we’ll have to identify some savings’’
Cr Crocker was concerned about how the council would find the money.
‘‘I do believe that Cr Davis has been asking around and may have some sources of cash, which would be for the cash component, not the in-kind component, is that correct?’’ Cr Crocker asked.
‘‘Cr Crocker, I’ve got $3000 in-kind, but I don’t believe it will be very hard to get the cash. We really want this event.’’
Mr McIlroy then said: ‘‘If we’re going to pass this motion tonight, I think the council will be the funder, or under-writing the $10000 in cash. We wouldn’t be necessarily asking people for cash, but certainly the sponsorship, we would have some offers in that respect.’’