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Innovative lucrative athlete hosting plan thwarted for Bass Coast by cancellation of 2026 Victorian Commonwealth Games

The cancellation of the 2026 Victorian Commonwealth Games dashes Bass Coast's lucrative athlete hosting plan, but they aim to pursue other tourism-driven opportunities.

By news@gippsland - 19th July 2023 - Back to News

The state government's decision to cancel the 2026 Victorian Commonwealth Games has torpedoed an innovative athlete hosting plan by Bass Coast Shire Council that was set to inject millions of dollars into the region - the majority to local businesses. Following the shock cancellation, Bass Coast Shire Council has revealed it was poised to announce a pre-Games athletes' village in the region for either the teams from Wales or Scotland.

Cancellation of 2026 Victorian Commonwealth Games disrupts Bass Coast's athlete hosting plan, which would have boosted the local economy, local businesses have lost up to $3 million in potential revenue after the decision

Cancellation of 2026 Victorian Commonwealth Games disrupts Bass Coast's athlete hosting plan, which would have boosted the local economy, local businesses have lost up to $3 million in potential revenue after the decision

Missed pre-games opportunity

Planning was well advanced to set up a hub for more than 400 athletes and support teams at Silverwater Resort in San Remo. It would have been fully funded by the visiting team, set to inject up to $3 million into the local economy and create hundreds of jobs for several weeks before the Games were due to start in March 2026.

Bass Coast Shire Council and neighbouring City of Casey have been working together in the background on the plan to host an international team pre-Games since the start of the year, after the state government decided not to host Commonwealth Games events in the Bass Coast region.

Athletes and officials would have been bussed daily to the City of Casey's extensive sporting facilities just 30-70 minutes from the accommodation. It was expected that local businesses, especially tourism and food-related, would have benefited exponentially as teams plus their support staff would explore Bass Coast in their off time.

Disappointing cancellation

Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor, Cr Michael Whelan said, "We had been in deep discussions with several countries, which had progressed significantly with Scotland and Wales throughout the last week. In fact, we were talking with them just the night before the state government made their decision."

"We are incredibly disappointed that all the hard work on this entrepreneurial partnership model won't be able to be put into action. This model was developed to be a full-service support model. The key focus and messaging was to provide a home away from home for athletes, where they could access top quality facilities in a beautiful location, while having the opportunity to spend time together as a team before going to their individual village locations."

"Teams and staff would also have made the most of their trip down under by fully enjoying all Bass Coast has to offer, spending big with local businesses. This cancellation is a huge blow to us all, as our local businesses especially have lost that opportunity," he said.

Pursuing tourism opportunities

Cr Whelan said major events are an important part of the Bass Coast community and culture, so council would continue to chase similar tourism-driving events. "By hosting international teams Bass Coast had an opportunity to shine on the world-stage as a globally attractive tourism destination. The project would have raised awareness about our incredible region through the influential advocacy of our guest teams, via priceless word-of-mouth publicity - in their content, social media, among industry peers and much more."

"However, the council does not see this as wasted work. We look forward to securing our share of the $150 million dollar funding now set aside for tourism-related infrastructure, after the decision to cancel the Games, to deliver the world-class Bass Coast Dinosaur Trail. This project is ready to go - all it needs is a commitment," he said.

Economic growth strategy

Cr Whelan added, "As Victoria's fastest growing regional population per capita, we are constantly chasing opportunities to grow our economy, to benefit both local businesses and create new jobs for residents. This is aligned to our Visitor Economy Partnership masterplan."

"Bass Coast takes pride in our position as a global tourism and sporting destination. Our extensive experience in hosting some of the world's biggest sporting events was recognised by the international teams that we were about to host. We will continue promoting our unique region to the world, then capitalise on our global-appeal with further internationally significant projects," he said.

For more information, images or interviews contact Bass Coast Shire Council Communications on:

Pictures from Bass Coast Shire Council Facebook page.


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