RACE ON: Holiday for our biggest meet is still in the saddle
AFTER a nervous wait over the last few weeks, the Coffs Harbour Racing Club got the green light they were chasing on Thursday night.
The Coffs Harbour City Council were deliberating whether to approve a local part day public holiday for the Coffs Harbour Gold Cup for both 2020 and 2021.
Those in the local racing industry were stoked with the outcome, with the day being rubber stamped for the next two years.
Coffs has had a public holiday of some sort for the town's Gold Cup since 1971, with the council needing to reapply for the State Government for the public holiday on a biennial basis.
The motion to reapply for the public holiday was put forward by councillors Paul Amos and George Cecato.
Those who voted for the motion were Cr Amos, Cr Cecato, Mayor Denise Knight and councillors Keith Rhoades and Michael Adendorff.
Councillors Tegan Swan, John Arkan and Sally Townley voted against the motion.
The five-to-three vote in favour of the day was a great relief to Racing Club CEO Tim Saladine.
"It was a good result for us," Saladine said.
"We thought we'd know on November 14 and it got pushed back and then there was talk it might even get pushed back until February, so we're just happy we know the result now so we can continue with our planning."
The council were under mounting pressure to get rid of the holiday, with animal groups from the region calling for it to be banished.
A lengthy public consultation process was conducted on the issue, with 181 responses gathered.
Just over 100 of the submissions supported the continuation of the public holiday, with 39 against.
There were a number of other submissions suggesting making it a full day holiday while others supported the more flexible 'event day' option.
Saladine said the council made the right decision.
"We were hoping for the best but preparing for the worst with the recent reports on racing in the news.
"Peter V'landys (Racing NSW Executive) put out a response to the ABC report and all the councillors got a copy so they were informed on both sides.
"We got the result we all wanted and we're looking forward to the next two years."
The Coffs Harbour Racing Club have a showcase meeting this Thursday, with a full field in eight races set to go around.
The track is in fantastic condition after the recent rain, with Saladine praising the course curator for having it in great shape.
Entry is free and the first race jumps at 1.20pm.
See Wednesday's paper for a form guide of the meeting.