Rain postpones harness racing
DURABLE campers kept businesses easily afloat during another week of steady rainfall on the Fraser Coast, but not all the clouds bore a silver lining for the region’s economy.
The 20-year wait for the return of harness racing to Maryborough will be extended a little further after the Wide Bay Harness Club was yesterday left with no option but to postpone tomorrow’s eagerly awaited meeting.
“We have had so much rain over the past couple of days that it’s been impossible for any machinery to get out on the track and do the work needed to have it up and running in time,” Wide Bay Harness Racing Club president Bob McCrae said yesterday after the committee’s decision to put the trots on hold again.
Caravan parks along the coast reported a buoyant bill of health yesterday, while Hervey Bay restaurants and cafés lapped up the rewards as the rain drove tourists and locals inside.
A number of tourists had checked out of the Pialba caravan park one day early but numbers were up with other years while the campers were “all sticking it out” at Torquay.
“It’s all been fun with all the rain but never mind,” Redcliffe’s Mal Bradshaw, part of an annual 10-caravan convoy that converges at Torquay, said.
“ It was worse than this two years ago when they were evacuating people off Fraser Island during storms.
“We just have a lot of fun. The kids still went down and had a swim.”
At Poona Palms Caravan Park “a couple of people” had gone home early but a full house was anticipated this weekend, while none of the happy campers had left Burrum Head beachfront caravan park because of the weather.
“The rain has affected us but in a positive way,” Denis Trotman, owner of Lilliana’s restaurant at Scarness, said.
“We are a covered business so while it’s unfortunate for some other cafés that can’t operate in the rain, we probably get a little bit busier when it rains.
“It’s been a pretty good week. I’ll put it this way, we weren’t not busy because of the rain.”
Maryborough has recorded over 70mm of rainfall in the first eight days of the new year, almost as much (78mm) as during the entire month of December. Teddington weir and the barrages on the Mary River and Tinana creek were overflowing at 100 per cent.
Hervey Bay wrapped up the working week with almost 54mm in the bucket, with water levels at Lenthall Dam climbing from less than 80 per cent full at the beginning of the week to 88 per cent yesterday.
The isolated showers are forecast to continue throughout the Fraser Coast today and tomorrow.