Hamilton trots club will open its gates and slash its bar prices to gift Portland Aluminium Smelter and Keppel Prince employees a much-needed reprieve.
Amid fears about the smelter’s future after a power outage caused a pot line to solidify, club secretary and Glenelg Shire councillor Chrissy Hawker said Sunday’s Matthews Petroleum Hamilton Pacing Cup was a chance to spread a little joy to the embattled region.
“It is a pretty tough time and we see it as a chance for them to come out and take their mind off it,” Cr Hawker said.
The club will admit smelter and Keppel Prince employees entry to the course free of charge and give them 20 per cent off refreshments at the bar, while entry tickets have been slashed from $15 to $5 for all other patrons.
“Everybody’s in limbo,” Cr Hawker said. “There is a lot of concern surrounding the smelter, in particular for the employees but also the wider community. We have slashed admission because we want to show respect to the region and what is happening at the moment. It is affecting everyone.”
She said families were under pressure, with staff being placed on enforced leave and eagerly awaiting assurance about the smelter’s future. She hoped the sport could provide a timely outlet.
“It’s a place for employees to switch off from the smelter environment, to forget about their problems for the day and to have fun with their friends and families,” Cr Hawker said. “Sport can be a great place to unwind. “
Sunday’s Hamilton Pacing Cup Day will feature an eight-race card as well as the Hamilton On-Track Market, offering wine craft, clothing, children’s activities and all the features of a farmers’ market.