Powerboat races could bring $300k boost to Valley economy

POWERBOATING will make a much awaited return to the Clarence Valley this weekend, and according to a local expert it brings a major boost to the local economy with it.

Australian Formula Powerboat Grand Prix president Gavin Simmons said the powerboat drivers and their teams looked forward to returning to Grafton after cancelling the stop here last year.

"The series is excited to return to Grafton after the popular round was dropped from the schedule last year due to the lack of pit area and launching facilities at their regular venue near the city centre," he said. "The new venue at Corcoran Park looks great and we expect to see a record number of boats for a round at Grafton.

"At these weekend events we tend to put about $100,000 into the local economy, with more than 300 people expected to come to the town."

Grafton Chamber of Commerce executive member Mark Butler said that when you break down the numbers and refer to what they call the economic multiplier, the figure could much more resemble $300,000 being filtered through the local economy.

"With these things it is not as simple as this person comes to town, spends their money on accommodation and food and then leaves and that is it," he said.

"That money has a sort of flow-on effect and gets put back into the local economy several times. This is what we refer to as a multiplier."

The powerboating spectacular was not present last year due to a shortage of space at the Prince Street ramp. Mr Butler said that despite the numbers being hard to quantify, there was definitely a negative effect felt by businesses in the Valley.

"Unfortunately because it was something that wasn't there and we cannot predict how it would have gone, it is very hard to judge the full extent of the economic effect it had," he said.

"Obviously it did have an effect on the caravan parks, motels and food establishments, but it is one of those immeasurable effects.

"To get them back this year is a major bonus economically for our town. The bottom line is that any major event that comes to the Clarence Valley is a good thing for us economically."

The boats will race this Saturday and Sunday.

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