TEN years of Tour de Tarwin fun may have come to an end.
The onerous workload that goes into its organisation has worn the volunteer team down.
Easter will still be big in the Tarwin Lower and Venus Bay area with many events, but the Tour itself seems to have run its race.
“The Tour de Tarwin has had a great run,” past president Craig Williams said.
“We’ve had a great time over the past 10 years or more, organising and promoting the event; I’m proud of our achievements.”
The event was a massive revenue raiser for local emergency services crews.
“We have really kicked some goals,” Craig said.
“We raised enough money for our local CFA to see them purchase a new tanker and truck, donated money to the other volunteer community organisations that keep us safe including the Venus Bay Surf Life Saving Club and CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) as well as donating funds to the local primary school amongst other benefactors.
“We also had the pleasure of being awarded South Gippsland’s Community Event of the Year in 2010.”
The idea came about more than 10 years ago over a drink or two with friends.
Since then it has grown to more than 1500 participants and promotes a great family/community atmosphere.
“While the event is a simple one, it certainly takes a lot of hard work and many hours of planning and organising to see it come through on the day,” Craig said.
“Over the years, the planning, costs and logistics have become more onerous: insurance, detailed event plans, site maps, risk management plans as well as organising sponsorship, raffle prizes, registrations and coordinating the amazing volunteer effort that goes into the day.
“After 10 years, we felt we had come to the end, hoping that others would step forward to take on the mantle.
“However it seems that while everyone loves to participate in the event, there are just not enough people to put their hands up to take on those executive and organisational roles at this time.
“It has to be an event that is driven both for and by the people; everyone is busy and happy to help a little bit, but it does need strong leadership behind the scenes to make it all happen.
“I can’t even calculate how many hours/days/weeks the organising committee has put in to keep the event going; it’s certainly a huge commitment.
“Perhaps the event has come to a graceful end; and this may make way for another kind of community festival. That will be up to the people.
“I know the legacy of the Tour de Tarwin will live on; the funds raised to support the CFA and others, and the satellite events that surrounded the Tour will continue; it is just the actual bicycle/walk that won’t happen this year.
“It’s great to see the Venus Bay Surf Life Saving Club will hold their fun run, and we hope to see the Easter Shield Football match continue along with all the other Easter activities like trivia nights, Easter egg hunts, the fishing club competition, and the bare foot bowls; there will certainly be plenty on over Easter.
“While it is sad the event won’t be on this year, perhaps it has run its course or perhaps the absence of the event this year will provide a call out to community members to help it return. I hope so.”
There will be an information stall over Easter at the Venus Bay shopping precinct for those interested in refreshing/reinvigorating/re-making the Tour.
The Venus Bay Community Centre has offered to coordinate expressions of interest: email@example.com
Tarwin Lower & District CFA Captain Michael Moore said the brigade is thrilled to have been the beneficiary of the Tour de Tarwin for the past 11 years.
“It has set the brigade up in this area,” he said.
“Over the 11 years the event has run, the local brigade has received more than $100,000 in donations from the event.
“This is amazing for a small community; with this money we have been able to purchase a Toyota HiLux Field Command Vehicle (FCV), a light Tanker for Walkerville with a capacity of 1200 litres (Tanker 3) and the latest acquisition, a fire truck stationed at the Venus Bay Satellite station in the form of a SEM Medium Tanker of 2300 Litre capacity; all equipped with all the bells and whistles.
“We can’t thank the organisers of the event enough for their work to organise this event over the past 11 years.”
“The CFA volunteers helped out with traffic management and road blocks on the day, but the lion’s share of the organising work was undertaken by the Tour de Tarwin organising committee.
“I know it was a huge amount of work for them over the years,” Captain Moore said.
“It’s a shame the Tour de Tarwin won’t happen this year, however I understand that it might have had its time and achieved its aims, and for that we are thankful.
“Over those years, the organisation of the event has become much more onerous, with extensive risk management and event plans, insurance and coordinating all the volunteers both before, during and after the event.
“The CFA is just not equipped to take on this role. We are dedicated to achieving the CFA aims of protecting lives and property as part of the now larger Emergency Management Victoria. Taking on event management is not a task the CFA is designed to do.
“We are struggling to increase our own volunteer base. We currently have about 15 active volunteers spread between the main station at Tarwin Lower and the two satellite stations at Venus Bay and Walkerville.
“We have some great people at weekends from three duel-pager CFA personnel who come down from Melbourne.
“We really need some new volunteers; there are plenty of support roles that people can take, not everyone has to be prepared to put on the suit and fight fires.
“If you are interested in becoming a CFA volunteer, please come along to the Tarwin Lower CFA shed on Sunday mornings to find out more recruitment with the brigade.”
Is it the end for Tour de Tarwin?