COUNCILLORS have voted in favour of sticking with a half day public holiday for next year’s Scone Cup.
The decision was made at Upper Hunter Shire Council’s monthly meeting on Monday.
Scone Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Ben Wyndham addressed council as part of local businesses’ push for it to become a local event day.
Mr Wyndham said many felt the workload wasn’t justified by the reward.
“The cup brings a huge amount of people into town...but having main street businesses closed because rent is crippling them is not a good image,” he said.
“It’s the biggest day of the year for businesses but it’s not the most profitable because of increased costs associated with security, liquor laws, more staff, and penalty rates.
“We certainly feel it’s far less profitable than the activity suggests.
“Businesses support a local event day instead of a public holiday to ensure that Scone doesn’t become a ghost town.”
Despite Mr Wyndham’s concerns, councillors pointed to the public’s overwhelming support for a half day.
A survey asked residents: should parts of the Upper Hunter Shire continue to have a half day public holiday (from noon) for the Scone Cup in 2017 or should that change?
There were 127 responses, with 68 per cent voting for it to remain.
Despite the emphatic backing, this number was still down slightly from last year by six per cent.
There was also a small increase in preference for a local event day and part day. Both ended at 12 and 13 per cent respectively.
Councillor Lee Watts said the community’s response was too strong to overlook.
“I can understand someone working in business wanting to go the other way but, as a councillor, I’ll be listening to the public,” she said.
The 2017 Emirates Park Scone Cup Carnival will be held on Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13.
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