THE Rotary Club of Bathurst's RYDA program co-ordinator says he hopes to organise a meeting with Bathurst Regional Council to plan for the program's future.
Iain McKean watched the livestream of council's meeting on June 15, where a majority of councillors made a belated decision to waive up to $5000 in fees incurred for using the Mount Panorama pit complex for the running of the program from May 30 to June 1.
Council had previously decided not to waive any of the fees this year, which led to the proceeds from the Rotary Club of Bathurst's corporate duck race, in addition to sponsorship, being used to pay for the program to go ahead.
At the June 15 council meeting, councillors Warren Aubin, Graeme Hanger and Ian North argued that the same fees should be paid when the Rotary Youth Driver Awareness (RYDA) program uses the pit complex as would be paid by any group that wanted to use it.
They also suggested that the program could be held at a different location to cut costs.
Mr McKean, who is the youth director of the Rotary Club of Bathurst, told the Western Advocate he was very grateful that councillors had decided to waive the $5000 in fees and he hoped to organise a meeting to plan for the program's future.
In terms of the suggestion that RYDA could be held in a different location, Mr McKean said there were a few reasons why organisers liked to use the pit complex at Mount Panorama, including that it was an iconic part of Bathurst, "very safe for students", it was a location where it was easy to keep students together and prevent distractions and the "wonderful job" done by council staff.
As well, he said some of the students taking part in the program would not otherwise get the opportunity to see the pit complex facilities up close.
It was revealed at council's meeting on June 15 that council had provided approximately $70,000 in financial support since the program's inception in Bathurst.
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Mr McKean told the Advocate, though, that you could also ask how much money Rotary had given to council over the years to use pit complex facilities that were not otherwise going to be used at that time.
In terms of criticism that RYDA organisers had left it too late to seek sponsorship to pay for the costs of the 2022 edition, Mr McKean said he would take responsibility for that but did emphasise that he was a volunteer.
He said that the contact he had made with a number of organisations this year might bear fruit in the future in terms of sponsorship.
Another frequent criticism of RYDA seeking fee waivers to use the pit complex is that council had an understanding that the program was going to become self-sufficient.
Mr McKean said he had only been involved for two years and he stressed that RYDA was not profit-making.
Of the fee that students pay, he said $6 goes to the not-for-profit Road Safety Education (RSC) (which developed the program and has Rotary run it) to help pay for things like materials and co-ordination and the rest goes towards running costs.
Mr McKean said in working with council, it is possible that RYDA might continue to be held at the Mount Panorama pit complex.
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