A CHANCE meeting in Orange has seen councillor Monica Morse have a change of heart about the Bathurst go-kart track project.
In recent years, Cr Morse was one of the councillors who was firmly against plans to build a track on land at the back of McPhillamy Park, despite initially voting in support of the DA in 2015.
She continually called for a different location to protect Aboriginal heritage and community use, saying she did not want to give the top of Mount Panorama to "a small group of go-kart enthusiasts", as she referred the local club in June 2020.
Cr Morse visited the Orange go-kart track during a regular club meet recently and found herself standing next to Mark Dunbar, the president of the Bathurst Kart Club.
That meeting helped her to see the club and go-kart racing in a different light.
"We had a very congenial chat and he explained to me all the fine points of go-kart racing and I could see it first-hand what was involved in a go-kart club," she said.
"It was quite obvious that this was not an exclusive club, as has been portrayed on Facebook. Ordinary families, children, men and women enjoying driving very fast in karts, that I think would have cost less than my violin or viola.
"I believe a high quality track in Bathurst would attract racers and probably more tourist dollars than the huge amount of money we've spent on football fields in Hereford Street and at the bike park."
She said it was important for councillors to come together now and support the club in finding a home.
"I would like to ask the famous five to put the past behind them, to show an example, not just to our community but the wider community, and let's work together for the benefit of a good go-kart project. We can do it," Cr Morse said.
She was commended for her comments.
"I appreciate your sentiments. These are normal people. The people that race go-karts are normal, everyday, knockabout, salt of the earth people and this exclusive rubbish you hear from exclusive people I find completely ridiculous," Cr Alex Christian said.
Deputy mayor Ian North was equally as complimentary, saying there had been a lot of inaccurate information spread during the debate over the last six years.
"Cr Morse, I give you credit for going up there and understanding that it's not elitist," he said.
"I only had a gentleman last week who I used to play hockey and he said 'I was against it, Ian, because it's an elite group'. I said 'Mate, we used to play hockey together. We had to join a club and pay money. We had to pay money to get on the turf'. He soon changed his mind."
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