Tourist town expected to take a $1 million hit with cancellation of Tour of Bright because of poor weather

Uphill battle: Bright businesses have suffered with the cancellation of the three-day tour which includes a section to the peak of Mount Hotham.
Uphill battle: Bright businesses have suffered with the cancellation of the three-day tour which includes a section to the peak of Mount Hotham.

ABOUT $1 million is feared to be lost to Bright because of the cancellation of a weekend bike race.

The three-day Tour of Bright had about 600 competitors, but was scrapped due to forecast downpours.

Alpine Cycling Club president Aaron Smith, whose organisation runs the event, said the effect of the cancellation was deep.

“It had a massive impact, in the streets in Bright on Saturday there was no-one,” Mr Smith said.

“The race normally brings in about a $1 million to the community.

“One of our sponsors, he has an accommodation place, Bright Velo, which has 14 rooms and 12 of those were empty because people didn’t come.”

Bright Velo proprietor and cyclist Wayne Hildred said it had been a “financially challenging” weekend.

“I took an 80 to 90 per cent loss of bookings and there’s 15 motels and 15 caravan parks and I know some of the other businesses had their worse weekend in ages,” Mr Hildred said.

Not pleased: Bright Velo hotel propreitor Wayne Hildred has been left well out of pocket after the cancellation of the Tour of Bright.

Not pleased: Bright Velo hotel propreitor Wayne Hildred has been left well out of pocket after the cancellation of the Tour of Bright.

“They probably made the right call in terms of being politically correct and covering themselves, but I’m a bit old school I would have raced in the rain.”

Bright Chamber of Commerce president Rupert Shaw, who is also a manager at the town’s brewery, said it had been a costly experience.

“It was quiet, it was like a full-on winter weekend.

“Friday was okay, but I think everyone was leaving on the back of the weather warnings but Sunday turned out to be okay.”

The cycling club is seeking to recoup its $15,000 costs through a GoFundMe page.

“It’s our main fundraiser for the year, we’re not just losing $15,000, we’re not making $10,000,” Mr Smith said.

Alpine mayor Ron Janas suggested the frequency of warnings could be altered.

“If you have too many alerts it could put people into a negative sort of state and they say ‘oh yeah’,” he said.

“It’s a fine balance in preparing people, with our community they’re very resilient, they know what local conditions are and the local situation is.”