No date change for Ironman leaves Hartley’s and Mayor not happy

CAIRNS IRONMAN

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Cyclists on the Captain Cook Highway competing in the ride leg of the Cairns Ironman which sees the road closed to traffic for the day. Image: Supplied.
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Although the Cairns Ironman has been praised in some circles, one leading tourist spot, Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, will be hardest hit by the Captain Cook closure.

Angela Freeman, Group Director of Sales and Marketing, said their specific issue is that they have been singled out at the expense of every other attraction for special treatment.

“No other major attraction in the region is forced to close except us. So we are placed at a specific competitive disadvantage with no compensation. This has been the case from the very beginning and has never been redressed.

“This year will be doubly painful for us as things are very tough and we will be forced to forgo revenue at a time when we can ill afford to lose it. These issues have been raised with the organiser and there is never a response,” she said.

The event is scheduled for 27 September, the middle of the Queensland school holidays.

And Mayor Michael Kerr said he had spoken to the organiser about it and they have confirmed that it is going ahead with only Queensland competitors.


RELATED: 
- Kerr’s plea to change Ironman date


“I am sticking to my comments that I do not support the event on the chosen weekend and believe that it will be financially destructive for this region, not to mention putting tourists in danger forcing larger amounts of traffic up the Kuranda Range and down the Rex Range.

“Transfer companies won’t have the drivers to deal with delays, dead smack in the middle of school holidays. Frankly it is a joke thinking that it is ok to close the shire.

“Clearly our state representatives that are allowing this to happen have no interest in the economy of Douglas and the struggling businesses,” said Mayor Kerr, whose pleas have been met with deaf ears.

Freeman said if Woolworths outlets were forced to close when Coles could stay open, or Good Guys forced to closed when Harvey Norman could still trade, there would be an uproar.

“But when the Freeman’s are forced to close, no-one gives a toss! We are just told to suck it up and essentially have been for years, irrespective of which side is in power. Sorry we are not on the ‘A’ List Cairns elite tourism social set, but we and our team still should be accorded some respect and consideration,” she said.

In reiterating his position, Mayor Kerr said the businesses he had talked to, all agreed this is a wrong decision to run the event on the designated date.

‘Cairns Airport Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns’, is a gruelling full-distance triathlon that features a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike leg that travels on one of the most scenic coastal roads in Australia from Cairns to Port Douglas, and a 42.2km run that finishes in the heart of Cairns.

Cyclists will head into Port Douglas via Old Port Road and Port Douglas Road, where crowds are likely to line the streets and cheer the athletes on.

Cyclists will then turn left onto Port Douglas Road before making a U-turn prior to Ulysses Street. Cyclists will then make a second U-turn along Port Douglas Road prior to the Barrier Street intersection and return to the Captain Cook Highway via Old Port Road.

Tara Bennett, Executive Director of Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD) and Cynthia Lui, State member for Cook, were unavailable for comment.



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