Lismore City Council won’t allow the half-day public holiday for the Lismore Cup to go ahead in 2020 and 2021.
Lismore City Council won’t allow the half-day public holiday for the Lismore Cup to go ahead in 2020 and 2021.

Council's shock decision on Lismore cup public holiday

ANYONE who loves going to the Lismore Cup will no longer be able to enjoy the annual half-day public holiday, following Lismore City Council's decision to put a stop to the "longstanding tradition".

The council voted on Tuesday to reject the Lismore Turf Club's half-day public holiday application to coincide with its biggest horse racing event for the 2020 and 2021 Cup days.

The request had asked for the part-day local public holiday to occur from midday to 6pm, similar to the same time period that was approved for the 2015-2019 Lismore Cup days.

But after a failed amendment to try to get the Turf Club and Racing NSW to consider banning the use of whips and tongue ties, Councillors Adam Guise, Nancy Casson, Vanessa Ekins and Darlene Cook voted against the Turf Club's application.

Cr Lloyd said the community's attitudes to the horsing industry were changing and the council should reflect those ideas.

"Saying (the public holiday) is a longstanding tradition is just not good enough," she said.

"Times are changing. Does our LGA really think it's entertaining to watch the horses?

"It's a huge disruption to our community, the whole town shuts down.

"It's disruptive, the sport is cruel, and it is not fitting with what Lismore City Council promotes for our community."

While Lismore Turf Club spokesman Scott Jones had explained to the council the club had no authority over banning the use of whips and tongue ties, he had hoped councillors would support the economic boost the Cup brings to the region.

"We don't set the rules of racing. There are strict regulations, as far as the racing side of it, Racing NSW runs that," Mr Jones said.

"The importance for the public holiday for the club I can't underestimate.

"Without it, we don't' get the Cup crowd and Lismore misses out."

Cr Neil Marks agreed that Lismore would suffer if the half-day public holiday was cancelled.

"Lismore Cup is a longstanding tradition in this community," he said.

"The community spirit was there more than anything and without that part-day holiday I don't think it would continue."

After Ballina Shire Council did a similar thing in banning its own Cup Day public holiday, Mr Jones warned the council that Lismore could soon see the same fate.

"Their cup is irrelevant to them now and it's actually moved," he said.

In a statement to the council, the Turf Club had indicated the event itself provides "significant economic benefit to the local economy and brings in economic benefits from outside the local area" as well as contributing $250,000 worth of "direct economic benefit to local suppliers of goods and services provided to the club".

The Lismore Cup is scheduled to be held on September 24, 2020 and September 23, 2021.