SATURDAY’S Orange and District Picnic Races could be the last as financial pressures force the committee to rethink their viability.
According to picnic races committee president Ben O’Halloran, before now, the picnic races have never had to pay a venue hire fee to hold the races at Towac Park.
However, the committee has been asked by Racing Orange to pay $10,000 this year.
The group did not pay the entire sum, rather, it offered a $5000 goodwill payment.
However, negotiations are underway for next year’s event, which the picnic races committee fears will include the $10,000 fee, a percentage of the gate takings and part of the cost of having security at the event.
The picnic races committee splits the cleaning bill with Racing Orange.
The picnic races committee donates a percentage of the takings to an Orange charity, but Mr O’Halloran fears this year the club will have to use money from their own funds to make the donation.
“Depending on how many come, but based on last year’s attendance we will have to put our hands in our own pockets to give them a donation, which means we would be at a loss this year,” he said.
Mr O’Halloran said if Racing Orange did not withdraw its request for a $10,000 venue hire fee for next year there would be no more picnic races in Orange.
He said it was unfair that Racing Orange had requested part of the funds raised from admission tickets, yet the money spent over the bar was not up for negotiation.
“They take easily $30,000 and what isn’t up for negotiation is the bar, we don’t get any of the bar takings,” he said.
He says the future of the club does not look promising.
“We cannot keep losing money and if we do I’m liable as a president,” he said.
“I can’t have that happen.”
Racing Orange declined to comment.