Saturday, April 13, 2024

Goulburn raceway stoush racing to court

An appeal lodged by Wakefield Park Raceway against noise restriction conditions applied to a development consent granted by Goulburn Mulwaree Council will be heard next month in the Land and Environment Court.

In a statement released today, Goulburn Mulwaree Council said it had “been very keen for over five years to reach a compromise and a workable solution to ensure Wakefield Park can live in harmony with its neighbours and continue to operate a successful and profitable business”.

“Nobody, including the neighbours, have ever wanted Wakefield Park to stop operating as we all agree that this facility is good for the greater Goulburn Mulwaree economy,” Council said.

The court action follows the approval last July – by the previous Goulburn council – of a development application for a major redevelopment of the raceway subject to conditions that would control both the regularity and sound level generated by the popular raceway.

Council said the conditions applied to the DA came in response to submissions from neighbours of the raceway – with noise breaches still being an issue at the raceway.

“One agreement that has been reached, and that is reflective of the original consent issued in 1993, is that noise levels are never to exceed 95 dB(A) when measured 30 meters from the track. Since November 2021, Wakefield Parks own monitoring equipment (noted on their website) has recorded that this threshold has continually been breached,” Council said today.

“Last weekend (18-20 February 2022) Wakefield Park recorded noise well in excess of this limit in excess of 500 times, ultimately reaching a maximum of 124.1dB(A). To provide perspective, 130dB(A) is equivalent to a jumbo jet taking off.

“Council has issued Wakefield Park with a show-cause notice seeking an explanation as to why further regulatory action should not be pursued.”

Wakefield Park says the upgraded facilities proposed in the development application would attract a greater range of events featuring quieter vehicles.

The proposal includes a new pit complex, modernised corporate facilities and updated garages.

At the forefront of the DA is a new multi-storey pit facility, which will house dedicated corporate facilities along with more modern circuit operation, race control, medical and media headquarters, a statement on Wakefield Parkway’s website states.

The DA also includes provision for the demolition of some current buildings, relocation of the marshalling area and more versatile parking areas.

Importantly, the DA does not seek a relaxation of the current noise restrictions adhered to by the venue; in fact, the enhanced corporate facilities will attract different events for newer, quieter vehicles such as manufacturer launches and drive days, it states.

Wakefield Park Venue Manager, Dean Chapman said the planned scope of works would have both short and long-term benefits for the region.

“Wakefield Park is a major contributor to the local economy but it’s essential we keep pace with other permanent circuits, so we can continue to deliver these advantages to the community,” Mr Chapman said.

“The work we’re planning at Wakefield Park is designed to attract a wider variety of events and secure the venue’s future as a viable business, and one that can continue to deliver widespread economic benefits to the Goulburn region.

“Additionally, the construction work, which is due to begin after funding is secured, will produce opportunities for local builders and contractors. This will create employment opportunities in the face of the difficult economic situations many people are encountering in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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