ALBURY Gold Cup's half-day holiday for the next two years will hinge in part on results of community feedback after a fiery council debate in which deputy mayor Amanda Cohn was accused of disliking horse racing.
But in a sometimes heated exchange this week, Cr Darren Cameron said the deputy mayor had opened the door to "extremist groups and fruit loops" to lobby against the half-day holiday.
Cr Cameron directly asked Cr Cohn whether she opposed horse racing.
In response she said: "I don't think it is relevant to the motion that has been put.
"We need to go through a consultation process to be able to put an application for a half-day public holiday in.
"It's not a box-ticking exercise. We actually need to listen to the community."
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Cr Cameron said the Gold Cup had strong community support and another round of consultation wasn't required.
"The only people I could imagine who would not be in favour would be the same sort of drop-kicks who picketed the premiere of the new film about (Michelle Payne)," he said.
"Apart from those sort of flips I don't know anyone in our community who doesn't support the holiday.
"It is an event which brings a huge amount of good to Albury and we need to be careful of opening pandora's box and giving oxygen to extremist groups and fruit loops."
Council staff had recommended an application be prepared without undertaking the consultation with deputy chief executive Tracey Squire stating the last three consultations were "consistent" in favour.
Cr Cohn found support from Cr Henk van de Ven in carrying out the consultation before making the application for the holiday to the NSW Department of Treasury which has required the consultation be carried since out since 2017 when council last discussed the issue.
The council will consider its support for the holiday next month when the consultation has been carried out.
But Albury Racing Club chief executive Steve Hetherton said it was confident the holiday maintained strong community support.
"Obviously when anyone voices any opposition to the holiday we listen," he said.
"But based on the overwhelming support and feedback we receive there shouldn't be any issues and the community still want and love the day.
"We don't have any cause for concern."
The introduction of the half-day holiday more than 20 years ago resulted in a spike in attendances.
Crowds of between 10,000 to 15,000 people have regularly attended the event with the exception of this year when the Gold Cup meeting was washed out for the first time in its history.