Fires, pandemic and floods take their toll on Pyrenees Tourism

Published on 02 November 2022

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Three major events planned for the Pyrenees community in October and November have now been cancelled as a result of ongoing wet weather and flood damage.

The Beaufort Agricultural Show, a major family and tourist drawcard for the region, is the latest cancellation. The popular show normally offers a chance for community to showcase local talent, connect and enjoy the region’s local produce.

It follows the cancellation of October’s Avoca Cup, the region’s premier horse meet attended by up to 6000 people, and the Lake Goldsmith Steam Rally, which attracts 5000 people annually, all due to ongoing effects of flood damage.

“Tourism and business in our region really have been dealt a triple blow these last four years, with the bushfires of 2019, pandemic impacts and now flood damage seriously eroding the many events that bring people to visit our beautiful Shire,” said Mr Jim Nolan, Pyrenees Shire CEO.

In December 2019, bushfires ripped through the site of the long-running Rainbow Serpent Festival in Lexton where events had been held involving up to 18,000 patrons. Earlier this year Avoca’s Silobration arts and music event, which was to be a post-pandemic celebration, had to be cancelled for a range of reasons.

“Council will look to join forces with the State Government and our neighbouring councils, including City of Ballarat, to strengthen our tourism offer heading into the summer holidays. 

The cancellation of large events in Beaufort and Avoca have hit accommodation, food businesses and other linked services. Flood and ongoing rain have kept people from visiting the region over the spring period, particularly Cup Weekend, which should normally be one of the busiest times. 

“Accommodation providers, restaurants and wineries are just some of the businesses suffering. They’re still battling wet conditions, but they’re also suffering from a lack of future visitation, because the events are being cancelled.

“The flooding doesn’t just devastate homes and assets, it hits the social fabric of our communities too, by ruining opportunities for us to come together and celebrate our shared history and spirit at events like the Ag Show and the Steam Rally,” said Mr Nolan.

The Beaufort Lake Run and many of the Shire’s weekend sport activities have been delayed or cancelled due to weather and damage to community and recreation facilities such as the Avoca Recreation Reserve, Football sheds, Golf Course and Bowling Green. The Avoca Men’s Shed also suffered damage.

Council is working its way through impacted recreation facilities and, when ground conditions dry up, will begin repairing and restoring as soon as possible.

Photo: Extensive flooding caused the cancellation of the 120th Lake Goldsmith Steam Rally

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