Tweed Shire Council has been called on to ‘draw the line’ over an upcoming triathlon event in Kingscliff because of claims it causes major traffic disruption, retailers lose money and ratepayers don’t benefit.
A petition by residents and businesses is circulating against the running of the Kingscliff Triathlon on 18 March, with a counter one backing event organisers who say the community benefits economically.
The event, run by a Brisbane-based company, is held twice a year and is now in its eighth year, yet some locals say they’ve now had enough of being ‘locked out’ of their own village.
Longtime Kingscliff resident Jeremy Cornford says it will be the second time this year when Tweed Shire Council ‘allows the closure of all access roads to the village bar one’.
He said many retailers in the streets would be closed and they’ve signed a petition saying they will lose custom on the day.
‘Ratepayers gain no financial benefit from the staging of this triathlon; on the contrary, the majority of retailers will lose money and residents will waste time and fuel using the only link out via the Coast Road,’ Mr Cornford said.
‘Vehicle travel within the village will be impossible.
‘Kingscliff hosts many swimming and surfing events during the year with no road closures, no beach closures and no inconvenience for residents or local business.
‘The residents’ compensation; a big, fat, zero. Tweed Shire Council receives no contribution from NX Sports [event owner] and contributes in-kind help to a private, profit-based organisation,’ Mr Cornford said.
But NX Sports race director Mike Crawley told Echonetdaily the company was a not-for-profit ‘vehicle’ for QSM Sports, which used to run the event in the past.
Mr Crawley said NX Sports successfully operated other similar events with no community outcry, such as Byron Bay’s popular Lighthouse Run as well as the Battle of the Border national cycling race event on the north coast.
He hit out at opponents, saying the company had not been approached or notified of any concerns and had instead created a ‘big storm’ out of the issue for ‘political’ gain.
‘We acknowledge some retailers will lose some trade on the Sunday morning, but we’re also sure others will see a boost to business, so it’s not all the one way,’ he said.
‘There is a proven, demonstrable and measurable economic advantages this event has on the town,’ Mr Crawley said.
’Some say there is an impact [with traffic], others say there isn’t, so there certainly is a divide, closing roads will impact on some residents, we acknowledge that and always have.’
Mr Crawley said organisers had always ‘worked in’ with local authorities to iron out any traffic or parking issues.
‘It’s the three to fours [of the race on Sunday morning] that’s the pressure cooker stuff, ‘ he said.
Mr Cornford said there were ‘a myriad of potential venues for such events both in Brisbane and the Gold Coast but, rightly, local councils there refuse to lock their residents out of their own streets for no gain and considerable pain’.
‘Organisers of this and other triathlons bring their own food stalls, locals cannot access shops or cafes, and the most the cafes sell to competitors is the odd cup of coffee,’ Mr Cornford said.
‘The marketing companies and council claim such events bring tourism and big crowds to Kingscliff.
‘I’ve seen hundreds of people watching surfing events in Kingscliff; has anyone seen spectators banked two-deep on the barriers watching the triathlons?
‘The only visitors, other than the athletes, are friends and family. While accommodation venues may gain one or two nights’ bookings, many genuine tourists and holiday-makers wanting to stay the full weekend and longer then miss out.
‘It’s time for council to draw the line after this event and seriously consider how closing public roads for private profit fulfils any part of their charter to maintain and enhance the amenity and well-being of ratepayers,’ he said.
Echonetdaily has sought comment from council and business retailers.