The Alexandrina Council to submit expression of interest for 2019 Tour Down Under

The Alexandrina Council has moved to express interest (EOI) in hosting a stage of the 2019 Tour Down Under, despite a division in the chamber at the December 18 meeting.

A recommendation was put to council to request a start or finish in January 2019 in the Strathalbyn or Langhorne Creek townships.

If successful, the cost to council could range from $49,000 plus $16,000 in kind for a start to $136,000 plus $25,000 in kind for a start and finish.

At the meeting, councillor Jim Davis moved to not submit an EOI, stating the project was “expensive without any positive impact or economic benefit to the townships”.

Councillor Michael Farrier seconded Cr Davis’ motion, stating the businesses in Strathalbyn had indicated no interest in hosting a stage of the race.

Speaking against the motion, councillor Madeleine Walker said she was horrified to hear the reasoning being shared in the chamber.

“To unpick the outcome of Australia’s international bike race down to whether someone in Strathalbyn sold more coffee is immature,” she said.

“This race encourages tourism from people all over the world… I hope this motion is put in the bin.”

When put to a vote, the chamber was tied, leaving mayor Keith Parkes to deliver his deciding vote against the motion, and it was lost.

But elected members still needed to make a decision on the original recommendation to make an EOI.

Councillor Barry Featherstone said he was disappointed to see the report focused on promoting the Alexandrina Council.

“If you asked the people in my community, they would not spend their money on this… I support the ideo for attracting tourism but not to promote council’s logos so I won’t support it (the recommendation) in it’s current form,” he said.

In response, mayor Keith Parkes said council could speak to the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) to discuss a marketing change.

Before the motion was put to a vote, a condition was added at Cr Featherstone’s request for council admin to work with industry, businesses and the community over the next six months to discuss how council can maximise the economic benefit of hosting a stage of the race.

The motion was then carried, with a majority of councillors in favour, and council will now prepare an EOI.

The 2018 race, in the event’s 20th year, will travel from Glenelg to Victor Harbor on Thursday, January 18 for stage 3 and from the McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill on Saturday, January 20.

Minister for Tourism and Sport Leon Bignell said the 2017 race pumped a record $56.5 million into the State’s economy and created hundreds of jobs.

To unpick the outcome of Australia’s international bike race down to whether someone in Strathalbyn sold more coffee is immature

Madeleine Walker