IT WOULD be interesting to get a cost-benefit analysis of the World Rally Championship for Nambucca Shire.
It’s said that the rally is worth $13 million ‘to the area’ but surely that is for the Coffs Coast – how much of that finds its way into the local economy?
With the special stages and most of the focus on Coffs Harbour, the trickle down of dollars into our valley might well be comparatively paltry.
On the other side of the ledger, many of the costs of hosting such a significant part of the rally in the valley are known.
The headline figure is the financial damage to our public road network. This past year, council put that cost at around $150,000. This figure hasn’t been plucked out of the air as rather than wait for the works to be attended to in council’s roads maintenance program, a third party contractor was called in to make amends.
But the rally organisers say there is no provision in their budget to lob with such an amount, compelling council to now go cap in hand to a NSW tourism agency and the State Government.
Unless the funds are forthcoming, the ratepayers of Nambucca will end up footing the bill, and that’s a harsh call for an event that has its fair share of detractors.
The main beef of locals to the rally is the inconvenience that it brings to life: with day-long road closures and of course the blanket of dust that coats just about everything on properties skirting the course.
The upside is that it is recognised the rally brings tourists and their wallets to the valley – plus it garners international exposure for Nambucca and its magnificent natural assets.
But is the price now too high? That’s the question for our councillors, and the local community.
One alternative might be a different course – perhaps through State Forest, that doesn’t cruel our much valued public roads.