Albury's only current councillor party to the initial introduction of a Gold Cup half-day holiday in the late 1990s is adamant it must stay.
Cr Darren Cameron said Albury residents still deserved to have something to celebrate locally even though the crowd for the biggest race meeting in the region dipped to its lowest figure since the commencement of the half-day holiday.
"It is one of the few occasions when we do something unique to Albury," he said.
"It is still a public holiday and we are not a totalitarian society so people are free to do what they wish to do with their time off.
"I reject the idea there is an intended purpose for the half-day holiday.
"Does everyone have to celebrate the Queen's Birthday on the Queen's Birthday long weekend?
"Does everyone have to celebrate the eight hour day on Labour Day as much as I would encourage them to do so?"
Albury Racing Club had a 9800 crowd cap imposed by the NSW government due to COVID-19 restrictions for the Gold Cup last Friday.
But the event didn't sellout as predicted with an official crowd of 8800 people in attendance.
Before the 2019 cup day washout and last year's race being run with no crowd due to coronavirus, the Gold Cup consistently attracted a crowd of 12,000 plus people.
The half-day holiday requires approval from the NSW government after the latest two-year deal expired this year.
Albury Council support is a crucial part of the application process.
But a vote on support for the half-day holiday may not come before council until after the September local government elections.
"Albury Council gave assurances last time they would do a full and proper cost-benefit analysis that takes in the cost to business and the community," AIG regional manager Tim Farrah said.
"We'd be hoping that process has already started.
"It is surprising to hear it didn't sellout given what we've been through."
Cr Henk van de Ven, who also operates a small business, said council shouldn't be making rash decisions about the half-day holiday.
"There is still a lot of uncertainty around with COVID," he said.
"Once we return to some sort of normality and everyone gets vaccinated, I think it will return to something near pre-pandemic crowd levels.
"To sell nearly 9000 tickets was a great effort.
"We had the same issue with harness racing when we were able to have up to 3000 people, we got 2700.
"We can't judge crowds on this particular year.
"We were rapt with the crowd we get because we were online for the first time and increased the price for adults to $25 for the first time."
Cr David Thurley said he remained supportive of the half-day holiday.
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