Morisset Speedway revival proposal wins backing of Lakes Mail readers

LAKES Mail readers have backed a proposal to reinstate a speedway at Morisset Showground - and two West Ward councillors agree the plan warrants investigation.

The proposal was pitched by reader Carl Stevenson, of Dora Creek, on last week's Letters to the Editor page.

Mr Stevenson said having Lake Macquarie City Council recently become the Crown land manager of the venue was a golden opportunity for change.

"I would like the showground returned to what was once a huge attraction - a motor speedway track for motor bikes and speedway cars," Mr Stevenson said.

Such a move had the potential to transform Morisset into a destination for the state's motor sport fans, he said.

And with camping facilities already on site, and Morisset station nearby, the showground was ideally located, he said.

The letter prompted a swift and mostly enthusiastic response from readers.

The former speedway track circles the main arena at the showground, and is now used for training trotters.

It would need work, including fencing, seating and other facilities.

CR JASON PAULING

CR JASON PAULING

West Ward councillors Jason Pauling and Luke Cubis agreed the proposal warranted investigation - and numbers would need to be crunched.

"This project has the potential to create a wonderful attraction that revives nostalgia and provides entertainment in western Lake Macquarie," Cr Pauling said.

The timing of the proposal is interesting given council's current focus on developing a night-time economy in the city.

"Absolutely. This is exactly the reason why this potential project needs to be investigated," he said.

Cr Cubis agreed reviving the speedway was a good suggestion which "should at least be explored".

"It's certainly positive from a tourism perspective and possibly even from social capital and economic perspectives.

Cr Cubis said depending on the running costs of such an event, and attendance figures, hosting a regular speedway night could be a nice earner for Morisset.

"A packed speedway with stalls and music has the potential to be a positive contributor to the Morisset economy," he said.

Cr Pauling said costs associated with bringing the showground up to standard to host a speedway, and the potential for residents around the venue to object to the plan, loomed large.

"This will be a difficult sell to council for a range of reasons including land-use conflicts, noise, and the unknown financial viability situation," he said.

"Notwithstanding these potential issues I think there is a sound basis that this potential project should be investigated and as chairperson of the Diverse Economy portfolio I'll enthusiastically push the investigation."

CR LUKE CUBIS.

CR LUKE CUBIS.

Cr Cubis said it was difficult to know if his fellow councillors would support a speedway at Morisset.

"It's too early to tell. There are 13 councillors who would have to vote on it," he said.

"Seven would need to believe it's the right decision to vote for it, but until there's a proposal or a feasibility study of some sort it's very difficult to guess what other councillors may decide."

One thing was known, he said.

"It'd certainly create some discussion in the local community and at council. That's for sure."

Budgets and facility upgrades might be a concern, he said.

"Council could possibly contribute to the facility upgrades but it doesn't run speedway events. A big hurdle will be if any companies want to run a speedway in our area, at that facility."

Lake Macquarie City Council recently accepted an invitation from NSW Department of Industry - Crown Lands and Water to assume management of the showground.

The change followed the dissolution last year of a community-based trust that had been managing the site.

The showground is host to regular events including the Morisset Lake Macquarie Agricultural Show.

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