Iconic Byron Bay Triathlon’s future in doubt
Organisers of the iconic Byron Bay Triathlon have warned the future of their race could be in threat as increasing visitor levels derail their upcoming event plans.
On April 9, Race Director Mike Crawley issued a statement to let triathletes know traffic from tourists and a population increase had resulted in a date change from Saturday, May 8 to Sunday, May 9 for the event's 25th year.
Mr Crawley said the race change was suggested to event organisers by Byron Shire Council and the Byron Bay police.
"The biggest problem is when we close the coastal road network for the cycle course from the Surf Club south to Suffolk Park locking in tourists, visitors and locals at lunch time," he said.
"Information shared with us suggests the number of vehicles would likely be so large that when we close the cycle course, traffic could backup along Ewingsdale Road and up onto the Pacific Highway.
"Additionally, the Byron bypass road will be working for the first time but unfortunately will increase the re-diversion of north-south traffic flow into the middle section of our closed cycle course - creating an immediate overloading as the traffic will not be able move through."
Mr Crawley warned the future of the event would rely on the community accepting the change of date or else "it would be the last year of a triathlon in Byron Bay."
"I understand some of our loyal triathletes will be upset but I hope you can also see the importance in responding to these unprecedented changes in the Byron Bay community," he said.
"I must acknowledge the commitment of the Byron Shire Council staff and the Northern Rivers highway policing unit and the local Byron police in helping us every step of the way to continue this event's legacy well into the future.
"Collectively we hope this change is received positively by the residents and local businesses; as we cannot confirm a 26th triathlon until after this year's trial date change."
It follows the recent cancellation of the Kurnell Triathlon after 30 years due to similar population issues.
"We need to recognise change and respond or otherwise we will be left with very few coastal races in Queensland and New South Wales," Mr Crawley added.
The Sunday race is now set for 6.25am.
For more details, contact 02 8507 0796.
Originally published as Iconic Byron Bay Triathlon's future in doubt