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V8 street race - new race track proposed

NEWS RELEASE
18 April 2005

Strong public support for V8 street race - new race track proposed

Wellington City Council is to consider an alternative V8 racing circuit around the Westpac Stadium to the north of the CBD, Mayor Kerry Prendergast announced today.

The public submission period closes at 4pm today. Interim results indicate overwhelming support for a street race with more than 85% of the record 12,000 submissions received so far supporting the race. Fifty three percent of submissions came from people living in Wellington City - 73 percent of those supported the race.

The Council is, however, proposing to alter the track after detailed track design work showed that the ongoing development of the waterfront and central business district would significantly compromise the safety and commercial viability of the track.

The new proposal would see the race moved to wider streets around the Westpac Stadium to the north of the CBD, which would cause less disruption to the city and remove conflicts with the ongoing development of the waterfront and CBD. Under the new proposal racing would begin on the Stadium Circuit in 2007.

Councillors will also be asked to approve suspending the current consultation process at a special meeting on Thursday, 21 April in order to allow the Stadium Circuit proposal to move forward.

The proposed Stadium Circuit would run along Waterloo and Aotea Quays, Hutt Road, Thorndon Quay and Bunny Street.

Mayor Prendergast said the Stadium Circuit would turn the street race weekend into a far bigger event centred on the Stadium, and was a far better racing option that would cause less disruption to the city.

“We are still convinced the street race is a perfect fit with Council’s strategy to bring recurring iconic events to Wellington,” Mayor Prendergast said.

“With the Stadium at the heart of the new circuit, trains would be able to bring spectators from all over the lower North Island directly into the race infield, and the Stadium and its huge concourse would be the focus of a great festival of non-racing events,” she said.

“Disruption to the CBD and city-wide traffic would also be minimised. By 2007 the Inner City Bypass will have been completed and will take pressure off the waterfront quays as an arterial traffic route,” Mayor Prendergast said.

“Track designers have been working through the issues with the Inner City Circuit outlined in the Statement of Proposal and it has become clear that ongoing development and urban design improvements to the waterfront and CBD will not allow a commercially viable circuit for the seven-year period of the race contract,” she said

The immediate issues were proposed building developments on the Kumutoto Wharf area – between the Railway Station and Queens Wharf - and urban design improvements to the quays – especially Jervois Quay - that would involve tree planting and wider, more pedestrian-friendly kerbs.

Mayor Prendergast said that if given the go-ahead by Councillors and the AVESCO Board, Council officers would start work on logistical and planning issues relating to the proposed Stadium Circuit.

A resource consent would be needed for a short stretch of the proposed course – on Thorndon Quay and Hutt Road. To allow time to complete the planning process, the first race on the Stadium Circuit would not be scheduled until 2007.

If Councillors approve the new proposal, the planning application process would be started immediately. Any new proposal would once again be put out to public consultation.

“This current consultation process has been valuable in ascertaining the level of support for a street race and has enabled us to develop this new proposal,” Mayor Prendergast says.

Ends

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