Community leaders are hoping major events which would have drawn thousands of visitors to Horsham this weekend can be rescheduled after the snap lockdown forced their cancellations.
Wimmera Kart Racing Club (WKRC) was meant to host the fourth round of the Victorian Country Series which would have drawn more than 2000 visitors to the municipality.
Hundreds of people were also set to stay in the city as Horsham Squash Club hosted the Victorian Masters Championships.
Instead there have been mass cancellations of accommodation and dining bookings.
“This snap lockdown has come at a particularly unfortunate time for Wimmera hospitality and accommodation businesses,” Mayor Robyn Gulline said.
“We were set to enjoy a bumper weekend and it is very frustrating to have it all taken away. I applaud our local organisers for their determination to reschedule these important drawcards for our region.”
WKRC president Remo Luciani said his committee was already planning to run the Dooen event on another date.
“We are working with Karting Victoria too see if we can find another weekend that fits in to their calendar,” Mr Luciani said.
“It’s very busy schedule with lots of clubs involved but we have high hopes that we can slot in again sometime soon.
“Having to cancel so close to the weekend is a huge blow after all of the work we have put in and costs that have been incurred. For example we have already had a lot of food and catering has already been delivered ahead of the weekend.
“It takes its toll on a small club like ours with limited finances,” he said.
Competitors were due to arrive Friday from across Victoria.
“Just our club itself had booked 12 rooms for the race officials and they had to be cancelled. There were 100 meals booked at the Bull and Mouth and White Hart for Saturday night,” he said.
“Hopefully we can have them all back here again soon.”
Squash club members prepare for the tournament.
Horsham Squash Club is working on rescheduling its event for the weekend of September 10-12.
Horsham last hosted the state masters championship in 2019.
President Tim Hopper said since the club learned it had won the rights back, there had been significant interest from across the region.
“This will be the third time we’ve hosted the tournament and it has been a big winner for our small club each time,” Mr Hopper said.
Horsham Squash Club has six climate-controlled courts, including two-glass backed show courts and four recently refurbished courts.
Mr Hopper said Horsham Rural City Council support had played an important part in attracting the tournament.
“They helped with negotiations for the event and a recent HRCC grant ensured we were able to complete our LED lighting program by finishing the final two courts,” he said.