Residents get racetrack answers

DEVELOPMENT of a proposed $15 million multipurpose motor racing complex on the outskirts of Nowra has moved a step closer with Motorcycling NSW staging a meeting to answer the concerns of local residents.

The proposed development at Yerriyong near HMAS Albatross is being designed for both cars and bikes but has been the subject of much local speculation, with Motorcycling NSW saying it will now go away and start working on the development application.

Many residents had criticised the lack of available information from Motorcycling NSW, the proponents behind the proposal.

Motorcycling NSW general manager Daniel Gatt and president Christine Tickner, along with managing director of Sports Marketing Australia Rick Sleeman, who brought the project to Shoalhaven City Council, tried to allay some of those fears, answering questions at a special meeting with local residents on Wednesday night.

Only residents who live within a four-kilometre radius of the proposal were invited to the meeting at the Shoalhaven City Turf Club – Shoalhaven City Council representatives weren’t invited.

More than 50 residents took part in a sometimes emotionally charged meeting with the proposed developers, with Mr Gatt saying Motorcycling NSW had got a lot out of it.

“I think it was a very beneficial meeting for both us and the residents,” he said.

“We answered what questions we could and have committed to get the answers to those questions we couldn’t.

“We have also agreed to keep the residents informed of future development.

“Sure, the meeting was emotional. I can understand people being worried that it will change or affect their lifestyles but by the end of the night we had put a rational argument forward and I think we had got our information out there.

“We had between 35 and 40 residents who wished to remain informed on the proposal and we will do that.”

Ms Tickner said the reason for the supposed “secrecy” surrounding the proposal was that Motorcycling NSW, a not for profit organisation, hadn’t actually moved to accept the project.

“We had to move the project at our AGM and that was only staged in Sydney last Thursday night,” she said.

“That is why we haven’t been able to say anything regarding the proposal, as members hadn’t agreed or voted on it.

“We understand the requirement for confidentiality has caused frustration for many in the community but we are grateful to Shoalhaven City Council in particular for honouring our requests to keep our investigations out of the public domain until members could consider the option.

“Once we got that approval it opened the door for us as an organisation to have meaningful dialogue with the wider community.

“And that’s what our meeting with residents was all about, letting them know what is proposed and to try and answer the many question they have.”

Mr Gatt said the organisation had received lots of positive feedback, but had also taken on board many of the residents’ concerns.

“We realise there is a number of issues that have to be addressed and we are endeavouring to do that,” he said.

“There are things we can rectify and change straight away which will provide residents with information, there are things we have to go back and work out, but I think this was a positive move.”

Such was the interest that the meeting went for almost three hours.

“There was a lot of misinformation out in the community and we tried to put some of it straight,” Ms Tickner said.

“Word that the complex will run 24 hours a day seven days a week are simply incorrect,” Mr Gatt said.

MEETING: Shoalhaven City Council economic development manager Greg Pullen (left) with Motorcycling NSW president Christine Tickner and general manager Daniel Gatt.

MEETING: Shoalhaven City Council economic development manager Greg Pullen (left) with Motorcycling NSW president Christine Tickner and general manager Daniel Gatt.