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Choice on potentially disruptive Intl. street race


11 March 2004

Aucklanders face choice on potentially disruptive

but high value international street race

Aucklanders will need to make a decision on whether or not they support hosting a V8 supercar international street race - bringing with it an estimated total of $315 million in economic benefit but 18 days of potentially serious traffic disruption and noise over a seven year period.

The chairperson of Auckland City Council's Recreation and Events Committee, Councillor Scott Milne, said today the council had formally decided to bid to host the V8 Supercar Championship Series. The series involves 13 races in the Asia Pacific region.

If successful, the race will most likely be staged from April 2006.

Wellington is also aggressively bidding for the event.

Mr Milne said he would be promoting a public discussion of all the issues raised by the city's bid. If it were successful, the city and race organisers would need to work closely with residents and businesses, specially those in the track area. The proposed course would go round Victoria Park and use Fanshawe, Hobson, Victoria and Beaumont streets.

The decision making now meant individual Aucklanders would need to assess, as citizens had in other street race cities like Brisbane, Adelaide and Monaco, whether the problems raised by hosting the event were worth the rewards.

Some of the rewards included:

- an estimated economic impact of $45 million per year ($315 million total over seven years)

- 150,000 race spectators

- a world wide television audience of millions (as the world's leading touring car series it attracted 14.5 million viewers in Australia alone in 2002)

- 175,000 visitor nights for the accommodation industry

- corporate attendance by 20,000 people, generating 550 jobs for trained casual staff

- attracting 60 companies as event suppliers, with employees totalling more than 1000

- 40 associated community events (including, for example, a school go-kart competition, charity ball, a street parade, yachting regatta and celebrity golf tournament).

Mr Milne said staging the race involved the city and residents in

- advancing some road improvements on track streets

- some traffic disruption during track set up each time the event was held

- potentially serious traffic disruption for three days each time the event was held

- closing the streets on the track to the public between 7am and 7pm for three days each time the event was held.

Mr Milne said the city's bid would be conditional on it obtaining all necessary consents, including traffic management, by September this year.

"We've already talked with some of the major businesses directly impacted. They're supportive, but I would expect that support from businesses and residents will rightly be based on how we propose to effectively reduce the inconvenience as much as possible. We're doing a lot of work on that now and looking, for example, at the successful traffic management work that was done around the APEC event," Mr Milne said. "Equally there will be hundreds of thousands eager to see the races, and hundreds of businesses - specially those at the Viaduct harbour - excited about the prospects it offers."

The council had also authorised negotiations on the city either making a loan, or entering into a joint venture, with the event's promoter, IMG, the world's leading event promoter, with offices in 99 countries.

IMG's motorsport experience includes the Indy, Gold Coast, Bathurst, New South Wales, the Adelaide 500 and the Placemakers' V8 International, Pukekohe.

As part of its effort to understand the mood and needs of Aucklanders, the city was this week conducting a benchmark survey of 300 residents in order to measure how people felt about the event, the issues important to them and their view on the city's commercial involvement.

Mr Milne said he would be calling a press conference next week at which he would outline the city's bid, discuss the issues involved and release the survey in full.

"We need people to understand what's at stake, for the country, the city and themselves.

Personally I think this event, given we manage it superbly for our own people, has the best potential since the America's Cup to deliver a massive injection of economic benefit and fun."


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