BEECHWORTH'S peak business body is in limbo after being unable to attract a single nomination for its committee of management last night in a move described by the outgoing president as "embarrassing" for the tourist town.
Real estate agent Rod Devlin didn't seek re-election for the top job along with other members of the committee at a sometimes heated annual meeting of the town's chamber of commerce which had played a pivotal role in getting the flood damaged Golden Ball Bridge re-opened and coming to the rescue of the Golden Horseshoes Festival at Easter with a successful rallying call for volunteers to run the event.
Mr Devlin said Beechworth was being shown the way in civic pride by Rutherglen with its upgraded streetscape.
"It's disappointing to stand in front of you people and have absolutely no one put their hand up for the 12 positions," he said..
"It is embarrassing, but it is probably a bit of tough love the town needs.
"Maybe in the next week the phone might start ringing and have people say "I didn't think things were quite as bad as that'."
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He described the improved Rutherglen main street as a "light bulb moment" of what could be achieved.
"It made Beechworth look ordinary," he said.
"I thought we were meant to be the jewel in the crown, but we're not."
Chamber past president Elizabeth Mason said Beechworth still didn't have an appropriate sign on the Hume Freeway promoting the town.
"Here we are trying to reinvigorate all of our businesses and we can't get the shire to work in with VicRoads and get a sign that says 'heritage area'," she said.
"People who drive between Melbourne and Sydney don't even see that there is an amazing heritage here."
Mr Devlin said the chamber had met resistance from Indigo Shire to rebuild its membership data base.
Mayor Bernard Gaffney, who was in attendance, queried why he wasn't approached by the chamber executive to address the issues raised including being unable to access a list of business in the town to rebuild a chamber data base.
"You could have come to me as I'm your elected councillor and you could have gone to Jenny O'Connor and Larry Goldsworthy," he said.
"The administration of council is accountable to the councillors and if you had raised those issues with me I would have raised them with staff and asked 'why aren't you doing that?'
Cr Gaffney said Rutherglen was the recipient of federal government grant and understood the chamber's priority had been the rail trail between Beechworth and Yackandandah.
Billson's Brewery owner Nathan Cowan was the guest speaker at the chamber annual meeting.