Setback for Wodonga Cup holiday

WODONGA and District Turf Club has suffered an early setback with plans for a public holiday for its cup meeting.

The club is hoping to switch the existing Melbourne Cup holiday to its cup meeting in late November.

Feedback to a survey of businesses conducted by Wodonga chamber of commerce was split 50-50, but only attracted a response from 20 per cent of its 300-strong membership.

The chamber discussed the feedback at a scheduled committee meeting this week before relaying it to the racing club.

Chamber business manager Bernie Squire said some businesses were still under the misunderstanding an additional public holiday was being created.

“Some of them hadn’t really understood the question,” he said.

“The racing club is still keen to pursue the proposal.

“We are supportive of them continuing the discussion and will help facilitate it as best we can.

“I think their next step will be to build more of a case and at some stage get in front of the council.”

Club general manager Tom O’Connor said more consultation had to be held with businesses based on the feedback.

He said a strategy would be devised at its committee meeting next week, but an approach to Wodonga Council was premature at this point.

“We’ve received overwhelming support from our members and the racing community,” Mr O’Connor said.

“The feedback from business is split.

“Some have lacked an understanding of what we are planning to do.

“More business consultation is needed.

“We’ve got to get out to businesses and speak to them.”

Mr O’Connor said some of the feedback would be taken on board and discussed with Racing Victoria.

It included the creation of a two-day carnival which would drive more business for motels, restaurants and retail outlets in Wodonga.

In 2011, the Victorian government amended the Public Holidays Act 1993 to give regional councils the ability to request alternative public holiday arrangements in lieu of Melbourne Cup Day.

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