Racetrack will be privately funded

ONE of the committee members tasked with assessing the feasibility of a new racetrack in Nowra has taken the pressure off local government to pay for the proposal, saying this week that the project would be privately funded.

“There has been a lot of talk about how council can’t afford a new motor sporting complex,” said committee member Roger Walker on Wednesday. “But this was never going to be a publicly funded exercise. It was always going to come from a private investor.”

In making the clarification, Mr Walker spoke out against Shoalhaven City councillor John Fergusson, who recently questioned the racetrack proposal as an unjustified and uneconomical expense.

“I don’t know where Cr Fergusson gets his facts from, because he said last week that Eastern Creek didn’t make any money, but in fact it does quite well,” Mr Walker said.

“Lots of investors are out there who’d pay for a new track in Nowra, and most similar complexes out there are privately funded.

“They make money, against popular belief, and in most cases it’s the state government lease that leaves them dry.”

Mr Walker said he had recommended to the council committee looking at a model for the proposed track that’s similar to Goulburn’s Wakefield Park Raceway, which is fully owned and operated by a private motor club.

“Wakefield is booked out for months in advance, and generates $10 million every year for the local economy,” Mr Walker said.

“People come for miles to be there, and the same could happen for Nowra.”

Mr Walker explained that council was in the process of commissioning the necessary environmental and social studies for the proposed racing complex, and said people should reserve their judgment on the plan until that happens.

Shoalhaven City Council would then consider the suitability and rezoning issues of the proposed site west of Nowra.