Unhappy trails

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Unhappy trails

At risk: last year”s motorcycle event at Hedley.

By Chris Brown

TONY Hurst isn’t happy.
The Corner Inlet Motorcycle Club secretary was told last week the club won’t be able to hold an off-road championship round on a Hedley property next year.
“It’s bureaucratic bloody indifference to motorcycle racing. According to them it’s a farming zone, which is not allowed to be used for racing,” Hurst said.
About 230 riders competed in rounds four and five of the 2009 Victorian Off-Road Championships at the same property in May.
Previously the event had been held “all over the South Gippsland Shire”.
Hurst said organisers thought the Hedley land was in South Gippsland Shire until a few weeks ago when they discovered it was actually under Wellington Shire’s jurisdiction.
“The shire of South Gippsland knew it was happening this year, but we didn’t ask for official permission to run it,” he said.
“I thought it was simply a matter of formality to do the right thing, so I rang Wellington to ask how to get a permit to run it and they said there’s no way you can get a permit.”
Hurst said the flat, sandy property was out of sight making it the perfect venue.
“The man owns about 600 or 700 acres of very marginal country,” Hurst said.
“This year we paid him $3000 to run it there and he would have been absolutely delighted to get $3000 to run it there next year.
“It’s no good for anything else.”
A Wellington Shire Council spokesperson said statewide planning provisions prevent motor racing in the farming zone.
Motorcycling groups have written a letter to shire councils telling them they are incorrectly interpreting state planning rules.
The groups argue the rules refer to a permanent race track rather than a temporary set-up for a one-off event.
Hurst said they were trying to get it so they only needed to notify shire councils of events rather than ask for permission.
“It’s not like the bloke was going to build a race track like Phillip Island up there,”
he said.
A motorcycling code of conduct requires the Corner Inlet club to notify nearby landholders, care for vegetation and minimise signage.
They also have $50 million of public risk insurance.
“What more do we need?” Hurst said.
The Corner Inlet Motorcycle Club made $15,000 from the event last year.
Hurst said the surrounding areas would also have benefitted financially from competitors and spectators staying overnight and eating.
“It’s a Victorian Championship round and there’s not many of them happening of any sport in South Gippsland whether it’s fishing or rowing,” he said.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s one day a year.”
Hurst turns 70 this week and he will keep fighting to use the Hedley land.
“I intend to make a fuss about it, because we do want that piece of ground next year,” he said.

Short URL: http://www.thestar.com.au/?p=332

Posted by Chris Brown on Sep 29 2009. Filed under Uncategorized. 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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