Pressure on city for Wodonga cup holiday

WODONGA and District Turf Club’s bid for a cup day holiday could be headed to the Wodonga Council within a month for its make-or-break backing.

The club expects to achieve 100 letters of support for the holiday before the end of April.

Almost 90 businesses employing 4000 workers in the manufacturing, education, construction, finance, hospitality and real estate sectors have joined the push.

The club hopes to switch the existing Melbourne Cup holiday to its cup meeting, now held in late November.

Club officials will meet Country Racing Victoria chief Scott Whiteman and Racing Victoria infrastructure and club support general manager Jamie McGuinness tomorrow to discuss other dates for a two-day carnival, similar to Albury and Wagga.

Mr Whiteman was a guest at the Albury Gold Cup last Friday.

A Wodonga chamber of commerce survey of businesses was split 50-50, but attracted a response from only 20 per cent of its 300 members.

Club manager Tom O’Connor said the committee believed a holiday would bring similar economic benefits to Wodonga as those again experienced in Albury last week.

“It’s moving,” he said.

“We’ve even had sponsors and people in the club who believe in it become advocates for us and are pushing it out in the community.

“We won’t stop when we get to 100, either. We’ll will keep building the case.”

Huon Hill Hotel proprietor Bill Perry has backed a holiday, but council support is crucial to the push.

The Victorian government in 2011 gave regional councils the ability to seek a public holiday instead of Melbourne Cup Day.

A two-day carnival could force the club to explore dates other than the late-November date.

A Thursday-Friday carnival in early spring would be a dream result, in the lead-up to the Melbourne spring carnival.

The Albury Gold Cup has benefited from a half-day holiday since 1998.

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