Caution and commonsense back on track

Motorsports enthusiast and ardent supporter of the Yerriyong racetrack Norm Mogg plan is right when he says there is widespread support for such a facility in the Shoalhaven. One only has to venture into the fevered social media environment to see there is an army of supporters who want to see it get up.

BRAKES APPLIED: Shoalhaven motorsports enthusiast Norm Mogg.

BRAKES APPLIED: Shoalhaven motorsports enthusiast Norm Mogg.

What has not been visible in the argument, however, is the Shoalhaven ratepayer, who has already been burdened with increases as Shoalhaven City Council struggles to make ends meet. The prospect they might have seen their rates tipped via an open chequebook into the Yerriyong plan – at the expense of other services and with no guarantee of success – has been forestalled for now.

In effect, the brakes have been applied because council has no idea of what lies around the corner. 

The motion moved by Cr Andrew Guile and carried at Monday night’s extraordinary meeting injects caution and commonsense in the whole process.

It demands an estimate of costs before a commitment to proceed is made, which by any measure is a sensible way to conduct business. Knowing exactly how much cost ratepayers will shoulder in getting a plan approved in the face of federal and state legislation that has already sunk one plan is entirely logical.

But there is even more work to be done. 

Lost in the clamour for the project has been any word about who might take it on if the plan makes it through the perilous chicanes of the environmental laws in front of it.

Bathurst, the spiritual home of motor racing, is expanding. The local council there is tipping considerable money into the project but the difference between it and Shoalhaven City Council is that Bathurst is building on success. 

Had our council not dropped back a gear or two, as it did on Monday night, it would have left itself open to accusations of trying to build on a failure.

It would be interesting to know how Shoalhaven would be able to compete with Bathurst and Wakefield Park near Goulburn. 

There is no doubt the region needs year-round drawcards. The question is, however, whether pursuing a racetrack in such a difficult location will pay dividends or end up being a costly pipe dream. 

Council will now approach the plan in a more sensible fashion.

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