Collie accommodation providers worried about losing biggest weekend

Stuart McGuckinSouth Western Times

Accommodation providers in Collie have described the potential relocation of Gazzanats WA as devastating as it is the “single largest event” for them each year.

Collie Ridge Hotel manager James Clarke said he had spoken to most of the accommodation providers in the town who all said the same thing.

“We look forward to February each year because we know we won’t have empty rooms,” he said.

“We always make sure there is rooms left over for Gazzanats guests at that point because we know they are going to come.”

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Mr Clarke said his hotel had been a major sponsor of the event for the past three years and organisers Gary and Deby Myers also stayed there along with their crew.

“I think this year was the biggest Gazzanats from our perspective as we were also tied in with the first city cruises in Bunbury and Collie,” he said.

“We also hosted the show and shine at the hotel and we were in talks about how we could make it even bigger and better next year.

“The long and short of it is that it would be like Barbagallo Raceway saying the Supercars are not allowed to come back.”

Federal Hotel owner Mareana TePaa said she was devastated when she heard news the event might not return to town. “We’ve been sponsors in 2010 when it started,” she said.

“We became a sponsor because we thought it would be good for Collie and would be an opportunity for people to see how good this town is and what we have to offer.

“We made that decision not just because it was good for us, but because it would be good for the whole town.”

She said the event had been amazing as it introduced people to the town who had never been.

“They spend money at all the delis and all the small businesses in town through to Coles and Woolworths and even the local ice- delivery man,” she said.

“I think it would be detrimental to the town if we were to lose it – we need it. Even if it is just 20 per cent of the people who come to spend money locally, it is still a big thing to a town struggling at the moment.”

She said there was a lot of uncertainty about the event because only one version of events had so far been told.

“No one has come out officially to make a statement to explain why this has happened,” she said.

“Until someone comes out from Motoring South West, we are still a little in the dark.”

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