BATHURST councillors opposed to building a go-kart track in McPhillamy Park say now is the time to find a new way forward for the project.
Bathurst Regional Council's plans to start work on the track this morning (Monday) had to be ditched at the last minute after Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley placed a 30-day Section 9 protection order on the site following an application lodged almost two years ago by the Bathurst Wiradyuri elders.
Ms Ley will travel to Bathurst on Friday to speak with stakeholders before deciding whether to order a permanent ban on the construction work.
Even before that decision is made, though, councillors John Fry and Jess Jennings have told the Western Advocate they will table notices of motion at the March 17 meeting of council asking council to seek alternative sites for the go-track.
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Cr Jennings believes an area earmarked for a skid pan as part of the proposed second circuit development is the ideal spot and says building a go-kart track there offers the greatest chance of both developments ever seeing the light of day.
"Both projects will die if they are kept separate," Cr Jennings said.
"The go-kart track will die a legal death and the second circuit will die a financial death."
Cr Jennings said council had already spent about $7 million on land purchases and planning for the second circuit and risked losing about $25 million in promised state and federal grants if the project did not proceed.
Cr Fry also says the second circuit as an option for the go-kart track but wants council staff to look at other sites, as wall.
"My motion will ask the director of engineering to supply a report to councillors on suitable alternate sites, including the western side of Wahluu that council currently owns for the second circuit," Cr Fry said.
".. There is $25 million [in promised grants] sitting there for a new motorsport complex and a go-kart track comes under that definition so I can see no reason why we can't use some of that money."
Meanwhile, NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge welcomed the 30-day protection order for McPhillamy Park site, calling it a "major win for the campaign by Traditional Owners and the community to protect this critical Wiradyuri heritage site".
Mr Shoebridge last month tabled an unopposed motion in the Upper House calling for the track to be moved and said council to "to pull their head in on this planned destruction".
"There are so many other sites in the Bathurst LGA suitable for a go-kart track which would not destroy priceless Aboriginal heritage," he said.
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