Junior State Cup to stay in Hervey Bay until 2022
IT IS the news the Fraser Coast business and sporting community feared they would never hear: the Junior State Cup will stay in Hervey Bay.
Queensland Touch, Fraser Coast Regional Council, Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce and Fraser Coast Opportunities were all involved in negotiations, which will see event stay in Hervey Bay until 2022.
The deal was struck on Saturday afternoon as Qld Touch CEO Jamie O'Connor, Fraser Coast mayor Chris Loft, Councillor Darren Everard, CEO Lisa Desmond and a host of other council and business representatives watched the Junior State Cup finals.
For Mr O'Connor, the opportunity to meet directly and work with council, the Chamber and other relevant stakeholders was the key.
"We love coming here. It's been a lot of work in the last 12 months working with council and trying to get to a level we're comfortable with," he said.
"We're pleased to have been able to work through some of the differences in opinion we have about the event with council.
"It's always great to be able to sit down face-to-face to have these discussions.
"Being able to host them on finals day and give them a real look and feel of what the event actually brings, and talk to them about some of the economics that comes to town. That's the real winner for us to push the benefit for the event."
The Junior State Cup is Queensland Touch's biggest event.
It has now been held 21 times, the last six in Hervey Bay, but the event which drew a record-breaking 213 teams and hosted up to 10,000 people was only locked in until next year's edition.
Rockhampton's 16 Boys coach Gary Benbow described Hervey Bay as the best possible place for the event, and before the announcement said it should be locked in with council "for another 10 years".
The challenge now, according to sport Cr Everard, is to improve the "off-field offer" for visitors.
"For a lot of people who are coming, this is their winter holiday, so between council, FCO and the sporting community we'll see what we can try to do to add value for everyone," Cr Everard said.
"A lot of credit has to go to Hervey Bay Touch.
"A lot of them have taken annual leave to come down and jump into it, and they're keen to make it better. They understand how important this event is to the whole community."
Qld Touch chairman Gavin Shuker said the event was a winner for the community.
"To lock it in, and have the support of Darren; he's been a driving force along with our CEO, and to negotiate a long-term deal, is just great for touch, and great for everyone," Mr Shuker said.