Bathurst councillor slams move to block kart track
Friday 19th March, 2021 - 12:53pm
Long-time Bathurst councillor Warren Aubin has come out swinging amid efforts to block a go-kart track being built atop Mount Panorama.
The Wahluu-Mount Panorama Go-Kart Track proposal has been met with opposition from the Wiradyuri Traditional Owners Central West Aboriginal Corporation and a Save McPhillamy Park group.
As reported by Speedcafe.com a fortnight ago, work that had been imminently scheduled to begin on the precinct was put on hold after Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley granted an emergency declaration due to claims of the site being sacred.
Under Section 9 of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984, the declaration means work was prohibited for a period of 30 days.
That can be extended another 30 days should Minister Ley elect to do so, or if the claim is upheld, it can become a permanent Section 10 order.
Minister Ley is understood to have visited the site on Friday last week.
“[That would mean] we cannot build a go-kart track there,” Cr Aubin told Speedcafe.com.
“And then just depending on the paperwork that comes through, what’s actually involved in that decree would tell what you can and can’t do up there, so it could mean that you can’t camp up there.”
While there is equally the chance that a Section 10 order could simply restrict the construction of a new kart track, Cr Aubin warns the hypothetical situation that camping is affected would be “catastrophic” to the region.
“To stop people camping on The Mountain at motor race meetings would be catastrophic, and an absolutely ridiculous move by this government to actually help bankrupt the city of Bathurst,” he said.
“That’s basically what they would be doing.”
First voted in as a local councillor in 2008, motorsport-loving Aubin voiced his frustration at the sudden roadblocks to a project that first had a development application approved by local government in 2015, and then an amended version re-approved three years later.
That amendment, he said, was to extend the track by 90m to bring it up to international standard length.
Cr Aubin also noted a house had been constructed on the very site in the 1970s and was only demolished last year by council in its efforts to “substantially commence the DA”.
He claimed too the Section 9 application had been sat on Minster Ley’s desk since January 2019, only to be acted on more than two years later.
Cr Aubin is adamant the kart track, which is planned to be operated by the Bathurst Kart Club, would bring significant benefit to the area.
“Everyone knows Mount Panorama. It is the mecca of motorsport which is why this go-kart track would just get major visitation,” he said.
“The fields that would come here to race on a track on top of Mount Panorama would be just amazing.
“I read in a report Speedcafe.com did about Roland Dane and Ryan Story trying to bring indigenous drivers into Supercars – I mean, what better place to start than a kart track on Mount Panorama?
“It’s just ludicrous to think you wouldn’t put a track up there.
“It’s just a motorsport heaven, so that’s where it should be located.”
It’s understood two local councillors presented a motion this week to have the Wahluu-Mount Panorama Go-Kart Track shifted to the proposed site of a second Bathurst circuit – a solution shut down by Cr Aubin.
“The precinct of the second circuit is funnily enough also under a Section 10 application by the Wiradyuri elders,” he said.
“So we have got every bit of land that we want to put the go-kart track on covered by a Section 10 audit.”