Alexandrina Council voted in changes to their Festival and Events Policy to stop all motorsport requiring road closures running in their area.  The largest of the affected events is the Adelaide Hills Tarmac Rally run by Ultimate Motorsport Events, which is a business registered in the Alexandrina Council, and the Southern Districts Car Club, whose home track is located in the Alexandrina Council.

In 2009, the council changed the policy to allow only one closure of each road for a motorsport event in any 24 month period; a policy that the organisers of the Adelaide Hills Tarmac Rally have abided by.  This latest change to the events policy was proposed by Councillor Oliver, based on false and misleading accusations about the conduct of the 2011 Adelaide Hills Tarmac Rally.

“The event has a great relationship with the councils of Victor Harbor, Yankalilla, Mount Barker, Adelaide Hills and Onkaparinga.  I personally feel that Alexandrina council has victimised this event that I and many other volunteers give our time to run and that we all work so hard on, and I am really disappointed, because my family has lived and run a business in the Alexandrina Council for the past 92 years!” said Michael Clements, event director, CEO of Ultimate Motorsport Events, and newly elected board member for the Confederation of Australian Motorsport.

As part of the policy for road closures in the area, Adelaide Hills Tarmac Rally organisers hold a public meeting each year at the Strathalbyn Town Hall for Alexandrina Residents to find out more about the event and raise any questions.  To date, none of the residents of Alexandrina have ever attended one of these meetings.  In making plans to change the policy, Alexandrina Council deliberately excluded the organisers of the Adelaide Hills Tarmac Rally, never advising them that a change had been proposed, nor inviting them to make a submission to council or attend the meeting to speak to council.  Despite organisers making a nine-page submission to Council against the proposed changes to the policy, Council also failed to advise the event of the outcome of their decision.

With planning for the 2012 event already underway, the ban on the use of Alexandrina Council roads will force organisers to make one of two moves – either shorten the event to two days, or spend more time outside of the Fleurieu Peninsula.  Either option will be detrimental to those businesses in the Alexandrina Council area who note increased trade during the event due to the spectators, competitors and officials who attend the rally. The 2012 event plan had the event stopping off at Strathalbyn for a service park and regroup of the cars, which would have brought a greatly needed boast to the local businesses during a quieter time of the year, but that will now have to be revisited with the road show spending its money elsewhere outside of the Alexandrina Council area.

“It’s clear to everybody that there’s a lot of revenue brought to the area by an event like this” says Heather Cox, of the events long term major sponsor Application Service Provider.  “The event brings with it some 150 competitors, 300 service crew and families, 400 event officials and over 3000 spectators to the regions it travels through, all of which spend money on accommodation, food and drinks, fuel and entertainment. The TV coverage this year alone was commercially worth $1.4 million dollars.  It’s sad that the businesses of Alexandrina Council will not be able to share in that in future because of this disappointing decision by council.”

Source: Adelaide Hills Tarmac Rally event release

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