Proposals to shift the date of the L'Étape bike race has not satisfied some of the Shoalhaven business community.
On Monday April 19, a meeting to discuss the impacts of potential road closures on November 28 was held between some businesses in Jamberoo, Kangaroo Valley and Berry.
Chaired by Gareth Ward and attended by a few councillors, the meeting was organised by Martin Stones. Martin is the son of Glyn Stones who is currently seeking compensation for the disruption to his Kangaroo Valley kayaking business as a result of the March 20 washed out event.
Glyn Stones said although the Sunday race would help his business a little bit, it would not help the rest of the businesses in the Kangaroo Valley.
He said Shoalhaven City council should have received a development application for Kangaroo Valley Road and Tourist Road as they are council roads, and the DA should have been additional to Transport for NSW's traffic management plan which was endorsed by council.
A spokesperson from Shoalhaven council said "Development Applications are only required if the event operates on private property or involves camping.
"Given that within the Shoalhaven LGA L'Etape Australia does not operate on private property or involve camping a DA application was not required."
General Manager of Lateral Events Megan Peters said all advice given by council about organising the race was followed.
She said Lateral Events conducted an "all agency process" when it organised the event.
According to Ms Peters, the Department of Premier and Cabinet chairs a meeting every second month which started in Januray 2019. The meeting is joined by Lateral Events, NSW Police, NSW Ambulance, NSW Fire and Rescue and representatives from local councils.
It was around last November when L'Étape was brought to Wingecarribee, Kiama and Shoalhaven council after the traffic plan made its way through local traffic committees. These committees are not committees of council but are committees of the NSW Police and Transport for NSW.
After it made its way through the local traffic committee, the Shoalhaven council approved the traffic closures for the March 20 event at an ordinary council meeting on November 24, 2020.
Although a Transport for NSW traffic management plan was endorsed by council, Cr Wells said a report was never given to council about what LeTape was, and about what events and activities would take place.
The L'Étape event was sanctioned by Destination NSW in association with NSW Police and Transport for NSW and was hosted by Kiama council.
Cr John Wells said Shoalhaven council's involvement was "very secondary and on the sideline" as the event was not a Shoalhaven council event.
He said Shoalhaven council had no part in its approval, in its organisation, its funding or the route selection.
Another question raised in the meeting was how can one corporation's operations cause other businesses to close-down and why should their intention to seek profits be ahead of others.
Glyn Stones also claimed Shoalhaven council received a grant of $600,000 with an unknown government source to improve Kangaroo Valley Road and Tourist Road. He suspected it came from Destination NSW.
"This road has been atrocious for 20 years and all of a sudden the road's fixed just for this race. It stinks and there's something happening here," he said.
The spokesperson for Shoalhaven council rejected the mysterious grant.
"As part of its due diligence and risk management planning L'Etape Australia inspected roads to ensure the route was safe for riders. The L'Etape Roadworks Report outlined that for the event to safely go-ahead specific sections of road required repairs. Possible repair solutions were reviewed, and it was decided that repairs to the value of $665,780 be undertaken and funded by council.
"The decision to move forward with a solution called 'Road Stabilisation' was decided on given it provided the best long-term solution for the region. Cheaper repair solutions did not deliver the same long-term benefit and would likely require further attention in 2-3 years. L'Etape Australia is a major international event that will inject considerable money into the Shoalhaven Region and encourage ongoing visitation. The long-term benefit of the international event is likely to outweigh the cost of repairs," said the spokesperson.
General Manager of Lateral Events Megan Peters was not aware of any such grant and Cr John Wells rejected Glynn Stone's claim. However, council staff did put a recommendation to council to bring those works forward to repair them for the race.
"If you drove along Tourist Road now you would notice it is in a much better nick than it has been in years," said Cr Wells.
"If I get an event coming into my ward, no matter who runs it, I'm gonna try and get the venues for the event as best as I possibly can."
At the meeting, Gareth Ward said he was not against the event but he agreed to wanting to shorten the seven hour road closures.