THE location of the Bathurst go-kart track continues to be a controversial topic.
On Wednesday, June 17, a notice of motion will be considered at the ordinary meeting of Bathurst Regional Council.
Submitted by councillor John Fry, it proposes "That the go-kart track, currently approved to be located in McPhillamy Park Mount Panorama, be relocated approximately one kilometre west to the property currently owned by Bathurst Regional Council".
A story was published to the Western Advocate website on the evening of June 15 and, following that, the Bathurst Kart Club released a public statement.
The following day, Wiradyuri elder Yanhadarrambal (Jade Flynn) published a response to Facebook.
Below is the full statement from the Bathurst Kart Club. If you would like to see the full statement from Yanhadarrambal, click here.
Bathurst Kart Club's statement from president Mark Dunbar
- Published to Facebook at 7.40pm on June 15, 2020.
For the past five years, the Bathurst Kart Club has been focused on working together with Bathurst Regional Council to develop and refine plans to build a karting track atop Mount Panorama.
To this point, those opposed to the development have been given an unchecked platform on which to share their views. The club has made a conscious decision to not engage in a 'public stoush' and instead let the appropriate processes take their course, including council's ability to respond to issues raised without interference or influence.
However the club has been disappointed to see this project consistently misrepresented in the public eye. While we vehemently agree everyone in this community has a right to voice their opinions - including concerns and criticisms - people also deserve to receive balanced and factual information. That doesn't happen when the community only hears from the people who shout the loudest.
Our environment and heritage are important, and Bathurst Regional Council has addressed all issues raised in relation to this development through a series of studies, surveys, and assessments.
The Bathurst Kart Club understands the site at Mount Panorama has been privately owned since the early 1800s, and until recently included a residence which was demolished in 2019. It has been subject to a number of routine assessments, as well as works to specifically address issues raised by a small group within the Aboriginal community.
It is our view that Bathurst Regional Council has responded with due diligence by undertaking the appropriate cultural and heritage assessments of the site, including an anthropological survey and cultural heritage mapping as well as environmental and acoustic assessments. It is our understanding no objects or evidence of Aboriginal traditions, observances, customs, and/or beliefs have been located in the area. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been invested to ensure council complies with its commitment to respect, protect, and promote Bathurst's Aboriginal heritage assets.
The Bathurst Kart Club is entirely comfortable that the appropriate actions have been taken at all stages of this development.
To further ensure the location of the karting track does not disrupt Bathurst's Aboriginal heritage assets, the Bathurst Kart Club has engaged with the Bathurst Local Aboriginal Land Council, and maintains a positive working relationship. It is our understanding that the Land Council is supportive of the proposed karting track, including its location on top of Mount Panorama.
The development of the new karting track is aligned to Bathurst's Community Strategic Plan - specifically, we are supporting the Mount as a premier motorsport and event precinct and enabling new motorsport business development.
To date, our club has received an overwhelmingly positive response from government, industry, and many parts of our local community including businesses. It is time to hear about the social and economic benefits our city will gain as a result of this development:
- The track complies with international standards, and will be another string to Mount Panorama's bow. It will capitalise on Mount Panorama's reputation as the spiritual home of Australian motorsport, and will no doubt attract people from across the country and the world, boosting tourism and our local economy.
- Our community is at the heart of this development. In particular, our young people will benefit from this track, whether they're interested in motorsport as a hobby, career, or for general driver education. Karting teaches discipline, respect, concentration, strategy, teamwork, and more.
- This track will be a resource for groups to host business and community events. The club has already had significant interest from multi-national companies to use the facility for corporate days and team-building events.
The development of a karting track at Mount Panorama is the culmination of two decades' work to find a home for our club. Several other sites around the city were previously identified and assessed but deemed not suitable. For those suggesting we integrate with the second track, it's simply not viable for our community club to compete with demands we anticipate will be placed on the second track by big business.
In September 2015, Bathurst Regional Councillors unanimously supported the development of a karting track on top of Mount Panorama. Five years later, it is time to get on with it.
As a community club with more than 200 members, all we want is the best for Bathurst and its people. We want everyone to feel included and welcome. We've consulted with individuals and groups across the board - we've liaised with motorsport experts and engineers to ensure the track design is both appealing and compliant at local, national, and international levels.
Our community club has reached into its own pockets and spent in excess of $50,000 to progress this project to this point. This includes, but is not limited to, funds spent on Development Applications, flora and fauna studies, and acoustic tests. We are certain this site is the right home for karting in Bathurst.
Karting is the grassroots of motorsport, and we have a lot of potential amongst the girls and boys in our junior karting ranks - what better place to nurture our future generation of racing legends than atop Mount Panorama.
Our club's driving motivation is to nurture current and future talent, and to make a positive contribution to our city.
A BRIEF HISTORY ON THE BATHURST GO-KART TRACK PROJECT:
Mount Panorama is the most recent location sought to be the home of a go-kart track in Bathurst, but not the first to be considered. Bathurst Regional Council approved a development application (DA) for a go-kart track in McPhillamy Park, Mount Panorama in September 2015. In mid 2016, a modification to the original DA was proposed, seeking to extend the length of the circuit. It was after this proposal was received that the Wiradyuri elders spoke to the media and claimed they weren't consulted about the original DA, which has been a catalyst for ongoing community debate over the site for the track. While the modification was ultimately approved in December 2018, council could have proceeded to build a circuit regardless as it still had the approval of the original DA. The modification only affected the length of the track, not the chosen site. Cr Fry's notice of motion, if adopted, would see the track built within the second circuit precinct.