Revved up


Revved up

THE South Gippsland Shire Council will decide tomorrow (Wednesday) whether or not to approve an application to establish a motorcycle track at Leongatha South.

The track was proposed by the Leongatha Motorcycle Club for privately owned land at 85 Merricks Track and 954 Koonwarra-Inverloch Road.

The club wants to hold a two day event as part of the Yamaha Victorian Off Road Championship Series and a separate club day, once a year at the track.

The application received 41 objections and the recommendation was for council to refuse the application on the grounds of potential impact from noise.

Presenting to council last Wednesday, Nigel Sherlock and Gabrielle Smetham from Bushland Monitors said the bush at 85 Merricks Track was one of the largest parcels of remnant vegetation left in South Gippsland.

Ms Smetham said remnant bushland was an important resource and allowing motorcycle racing at the proposed site would destroy the native vegetation.

“Revegetation can never recreate biodiversity,” she said.

Also presenting to council, motorcycle club member Burgan Gardiner said the club had complied with council’s conditions and the permit had not been rejected by the CFA or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Ms Gardiner said the club would use existing tracks and had no intention to remove native vegetation.

“There is clear evidence of an existing track. The property and track was used for the same event in 2016,” she said.

Ms Smetham said the existing tracks “cannot be as extensive” as those claimed in the application.

She said the motorcycle club admitted to making tracks through the bushland at 85 Merricks Track without a permit two years ago.

“To claim these unlawfully made tracks as pre-existing is disingenuous,” she said.

“Council ordered revegetation (of the tracks) and it would recover if it was left undisturbed. The growth will be destroyed again if the tracks are reinstated.”

Ms Smetham said there had been three sightings of the endangered lace monitor at the proposed site.

Motorcycle club vice president David Fleming said in his 30 years of involvement in the sport, an acoustic report had never been tabled to run an event in the Victorian off road championships.

He said the two acoustic reports completed on the site at Leongatha South were “basically exactly the same”.

Mr Fleming said an EPA discussion paper noted the maximum acceptable noise level for daytime circuit racing should be around 65 decibels (dB) outdoors.

“That’s 15 dB higher than both acoustic reports at the nearest dwelling, which is why the EPA does not object to the granting of a permit,” he said.

Mr Fleming said the EPA told council’s planning department to direct its questions to the motorcycle club.

“The planning department never did this. If they had, they would have been supplied with clarification, answers and information which they said they needed to grant the permit,” he said.

The motorcycle club also presented a petition last Wednesday, which calls for the councillors to approve the planning permit and allow the club to “conduct its sport as other sporting clubs do”.

Cr Argento asked if holding a racing event in bushland helped reduced noise emissions.

“It is a tight track, they rarely use full throttle. It is much slower and the bush helps reduce noise,” Mr Fleming said.

Cr Alyson Skinner asked if there was any other place in the shire that would be suitable to run the event and if the event had to be held in the bush.

Mr Fleming said “these sorts of bush blocks are hard to come by”.

“It is an off road event. The track at Hedley is an off road track as well. There are 10 rounds in off road series and we don’t want to go to the same place every time,” he said.

After the Bush Monitors presentation, Cr Meg Edwards said she had overheard people in the gallery talking about support from councillors and council officers.

She asked the presenters what support they had received from council staff.

As chair, Cr Ray Argento quickly deemed the question inappropriate and no response was given.

Support us: Leongatha Motorcycle Club member Burgan Gardiner, president Darrell Ven Den Borne and vice president David Fleming, right, presented Cr Alyson Skinner with a petition last Wednesday, which calls for the councillors to approve the planning permit for a motorcycle track to be established at Leongatha South.

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Posted by on Jul 24 2018. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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