Elite Energy has announced that the Yamba Triathlon Festival will be held on April 29 and 30, 2017. It will be the fourth time the Clarence Valley Council-backed event has been held, however, this time a leg of the Ultimate Triathlon Series has been added to the mix of events. The ultimate triathlon event, which is one of seven held around Australia – includes a 1.9km swim, a 90km bike ride and a 21.1km run. The festival almost didn’t make the cut with Clarence Valley Council (CVC), though: staff made a strong case to cease its support at the July council meeting. The council paid a $10,000 hosting fee for each of the years it has been held – 2013, 2014 and 2016: the 2015 event was cancelled when Elite Energy decided it didn’t want to organise the event, however, a change of mind meant it was held in early 2016. The staff’s report to the July council meeting states: “After the 2016 event and the end of the initial 3-year agreement with Elite Energy, the [CVC] Economic Development team worked together with Sports Marketing Australia (SMA) in calling for expressions of interest (EOI) from a range of triathlon promoters,” Two EOIs were lodged, one of those from Elite Energy, the other from QSMSports, neither of which appealed to the council’s staff. The “minimum hosting fee requested [by Elite Energy] is $10,000, irrelevant to the number of visiting competitors attending”, staff advised. “The expected competitor numbers, especially in regard to visiting competitors, are not supported by a satisfactory marketing plan and experience has shown that the company over predicts competitor numbers.” Staff were also of the opinion that Elite Energy had shown “no acknowledgment of recognising Council’s sponsorship appropriately in line with other sponsors” and that the “promoter does not have a good track record in completing necessary approvals in a timely manner”. Seven of the eight councillors at the meeting had a different view: Cr Margaret McKenna voted against supporting the event – Cr Craig Howe was absent. There was no debate, following questions by councillors to the mover of the motion, Cr Sue Hughes, and staff, regarding details about where the course for the ultimate triathlon would be located and whether or not the $10,000 included any in-kind contribution – there is not, it’s $10,000 cash. In a media release issued by Elite Energy, the mayor, Richie Williamson said: “We look forward to welcoming all our visiting triathletes to the Clarence Valley. “Yamba is not only a great place for a triathlon, but also for surfing, golfing, fishing, walking or simply enjoying a great coffee or meal at one of our friendly cafes or restaurants. “We encourage everyone to stay an extra night and make the most of their trip to Yamba and the Clarence Valley.” Elite Energy’s CEO, Mark Emerton, said: “It’s very exciting to be able to bring such a diverse range of events to the beautiful town of Yamba, in particular we are very excited this year about the inclusion of a long course event, something that we believe will be a great drawcard for the region and the event. ” The event still includes the usual Tri Series races – The Sprint, Enforcer and Enticer – over the same courses as previous years, and includes the Miniman Triathlon for kids. Elite energy spokesperson, Seb Gallery, said Elite Energy is “currently engaging with the local areas of Maclean and Woodford Island” to finalise the Ultimate Triathlon course. Community groups and sporting clubs wishing to become involved in the event’s volunteer program, to help raise funds for their community or sporting group, should email email@example.com.