The Ironman Australia event in Port Macquarie will go ahead on Father's Day this year after negotiations between the council and organisers failed to produce an alternative date.
The event was originally scheduled for May 2020, but was delayed twice to May this year.
It then had to be postponed again ? this time until September 5 ? following devastating flooding in the area in March.
The latest decision came after an extraordinary meeting of council this morning where councillors considered a proposal from Mayor Peta Pinson to change the event date.
Cr Pinson wanted the event moved from September 5 to avoid a clash with Father's Day.
After 45 minutes of debate, councillors voted three-to-two to support an amendment by Councillor Rob Turner that gave CEO Dr Clare Allen until the end of the day to agree on an alternative date with event organisers.
No other suitable date was reached, meaning the event will go ahead on September 5.
Dr Allen said the clash of dates was unfortunate.
"I believe that every option has been explored and whilst this is an unfortunate situation, the 5th of September remains the date for the Ironman event," she said.
"We discussed the idea of a different route in great length, but given the timeframe and the strong safety concerns raised, this was considered not possible to change," said Dr Allen.
The bike leg of the event stretches approximately 45 kilometres south of Port Macquarie into Camden Haven, with roads to be closed for much of the day.
Cr Pinson said after the "absolute hell" of the recent floods, the community should be able to celebrate Father's Day without road closures restricting their movements.
She read a letter to the meeting from Robert Dwyer, the general manager of the Laurieton United Services Club, which said the event "paralysed" the community, forcing businesses to close.
"To make a conscious decision to run an event like this on Father's Day is socially unfathomable," the letter said.
Grateful to have clarity
Ironman Australia regional director Chris Jarvis said after several date changes already, the decision to go ahead with the event in September was a relief.
"The athletes have already gone through three different date changes ... It's really important for the stability, for the planning of the event," he said.
Mr Jarvis didn't think hosting the event on Father's Day would reduce participation.
"It's a very big commitment, hence how important the date is. We have lots of fathers race throughout the year."
Ironman to demonstrate 'collective resilience'
Cr Turner rejected Cr Pinson's argument that the clash with Father's Day would take away the shine of the Ironman event.
"The shine of Ironman will still be there and our community expects and understands that we all have to make sacrifices here," he said.
"Ironman is something that has been such a benefit to our community for such a long time.
"The thing with Father's Day is not as bad as everyone's making it out to be."
A text message from Michael Mowle, the president of the Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce, was read out at the meeting by Councillor Geoff Hawkins.
"We need the Ironman to go ahead as soon as possible," the message said.
"The rebuilding and recovery will take time, but the Ironman will demonstrate our collective resilience and that we're back in business."
© ABC 2021
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