Posted by Rae Heston
Danny Miller - Winner 2017 Beach Cup
ROCKINGHAM City Council has granted $118,000 to the Rotary Club of Palm Beach for the Rockingham Beach Cup.  The money is on top of the previously awarded $36,000, making a total of $154,000.    The council voted eight to one to give the money to what has become the city’s signature event. 
PB Rotary’s president-elect  Donna McDonald, who is also the beach cup committee’s secretary, told the club’s recent board meeting that the submission asked for more. That request included the cost of a professional assessment of the cup’s  value to the community — an economic and social impact statement. However the council opted to give the funds less $8000 for the impact statement, which it would organise itself.
A condition of the grant was that an upmarket event launch be held on the  night before the races (Saturday) for the  Premier, appropriate government ministers, travel industry, media, sponsors, the horse racing industry  and other movers and shakers.  This would enable the council and race organisers to thank those involved and showcase the city and the Rockingham Beach Cup.
The council minutes noted: “Not only does the Rockingham Beach Cup have the potential to be the biggest event held in Rockingham each year, it has the potential to draw crowds the other major Rockingham events lack.
   “The City of Rockingham new year’s eve celebration, for example, is a very large, very popular event but it's far from unique.
   “The Rockingham Beach Cup, on the other hand, is the only event of its kind in Western Australia.
   “Having successfully run the event on two occasions already, the Rotary club Palm Beach has shown the event runs successfully, but to expand the scope they need outside assistance.
   “The event is now too large to run on volunteer time alone.”
The minutes  pointed out the city’s strategic community plan aimed to actively pursue tourism and economic development.  The city had already invested a considerable sum in foreshore revitalisation, developing a tourism strategy, supporting Tourism Rockingham and local events.
   “Economic modelling in the officer’s report, based on 2017 event figures, shows the Rockingham Beach Cup   has the potential to positively impact  the Rockingham economy by $1 million in                   consumer spend it alone.”
Ms McDonald told the club board that the grant meant the beach cup committee could afford to pay an event manager and a site manager. Everything was looking very positive for this year’s event.  The council grant was not just  for the beach horse races but also for a community arts festival running for a day and a half. 
   “We are looking forwards to attracting 30,000 to 40,000 people to enjoy our foreshore over the weekend,” she said after the meeting."
   “This is not just the Beach Cup and its marquees but a community arts festival.”
 Beach cup committee chairman Michael McCafferty said yesterday he was very pleased to get this support from the City of Rockingham, which would insure the event’s ongoing success. The money would also allow the committee to market the event to a wider audience, leading to more support for local business. The grant was the result of six months of voluntary work by Councillor Lee Downham, who actually wrote the submission for the committee. It was presented by Cr Andy Burns and supported by Cr Matt Whitfield.   He was grateful to all of them.