THE organisers of the RYDA program have always been able to get Bathurst Regional Council to come on board with financial support for the important youth road safety initiative.
But in 2022, they are on their own for the first time.
Council has not put any financial support, be it a donation or a reduction in hire fees for the Mount Panorama pit complex, into the program that is to be held next week.
In recent years, councillors have been growing increasingly reluctant to provide support as the RYDA program was expected to become self sufficient within three or so years of its inception.
Council met with representatives of Rotary, the organisers of the RYDA program in Bathurst, in late April.
According to the minutes of that meeting, they discussed the total cost of the event would be $19,000, with $11,000 of that being the cost of using the pit complex.
Rotary was seeking a 50 per cent reduction in the cost to rent the venue.
Speaking to the Western Advocate, council's general manager David Sherley said that no financial support had been committed by the council to the 2022 event.
"RYDA has come to meet with councillors as recently as at a council working party and brought council up to date with the project that they run each year," he said.
"As part of those discussions, they raised the possibility of council providing a subsidy for the event for this year, being a reduction in the costs of renting the pit complex.
"Council has assisted Rotary with holding the RYDA program over many years with the belief and understanding that the event would move to a self-funding operation. The discussions on this go back over 10 years.
"At this point in time, no reduction in the cost of renting the pit complex has been agreed to by the council."
Iain McKean, the Rotary Club of Bathurst's RYDA program coordinator, said it was disappointing that Bathurst council chose not to provide any financial support this year.
It has long been the belief of the club that supporting the event through a fee reduction does not come at a cost to council.
"We as a club still don't understand that the pit complex is basically community infrastructure - it doesn't cost them any extra for us to use it ... we appreciate they'd have to get cleaners in, which we'd be more than happy to pay for, and the other factor is it was not going to be used for any other commercial use, so we're not actually knocking anyone else out of it," Mr McKean said.
"Really the money we pay as a community, as a charity, goes directly into the council coffers I suppose, and that's where we have a little trouble understanding why they couldn't help us a bit more."
Although council support won't be forthcoming, Rotary has been able to secure funding from other sources to ensure the program can go ahead.
It will use $6000 from the Rotary Club of Bathurst's corporate duck race, in addition to sponsorship from Bathurst Autobarn and some of the brands (Penrite and Mothers) it stocks, Ray White Emms Mooney, and Town and Country Rural Supplies.
"We're very grateful for them for their sponsorship, which will help to pay for the costs of the pit complex," Mr McKean said.
"... People like Town and Country Rural Supplies, Ray White Emms Mooney and Bathurst Autobarn have come back to say it is a great program for the youth and basically if we can save one life from the course, we've achieved what our aim is."
He said that Rotary will be looking at other venues in future to reduce the costs.
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