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Council receives Hamilton 400 event report

Council receives Hamilton 400 event report

16 SEPTEMBER 2008

Immediate release

A review of the Hamilton 400 V8 Supercar event conducted by independent chairperson Peter Stubbs has been received and will be considered at a Council meeting next week. The report identifies 57 issues for consideration and presents over 100 recommendations as a result of an extensive investigation and analysis of feedback.

The review’s primary objectives are to assist in improving the event year on year, to comply with resource consent conditions, to identify ways to further reduce or eliminate detrimental impacts of the event and to identify ways to further enhance its positive impacts.

The report provides direction on key issues and identifies wider implications of the recommendations. Some recommendations require immediate consideration while others are designed for consideration of over the next six years as the event evolves. Additionally certain recommendations are solely directed to Council for consideration, others to the promoter and many require cooperative consideration by both parties.

Independent chairman Peter Stubbs says that while the immediate temptation is to focus on what did not go well and what needs to be improved it is important to first recognise what was achieved in the inaugural event.

“Attendance over the three days of the event was 172,522 and over 54,000 visitors came from out of Hamilton, with nearly 30% of them from Auckland. Net incremental expenditure in the Hamilton economy exceeded $28m and 60% of visitors to Hamilton surveyed said that the event was significantly better, or better, than they expected. Over 95% of visitors surveyed said their overall experience of Hamilton's performance as a host city was either quite good or very good and it seems likely that the event will be granted "endurance status" by V8 Supercars which will make the Hamilton 400 one of only three premium rounds in the Championship. This is a credit both to the promoter and to Council.

“As to the report recommendations, it is important to understand that they are recommendations only. Whether any of the recommendations are implemented is a matter for Council, the promoters and the community to determine. There will be cost implications, as well as Resource Consent implications depending upon which recommendations are accepted.
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“Neither the Council nor the promoter should worry that they did not get it precisely right first time; the need for change or improvement is a given with any long term event. And the extent of the changes that the promoter and the Council decide to make to the event will ultimately be a balancing act between cost and benefit.”

To ensure comprehensive feedback was gathered to support the review, Council assisted in collating 318 pieces of written feedback from a large cross section of the community including residents, business owners, race goers, media, race participants, the promoter and event director, corporate box holders and race sponsors.

Of more than 100 recommendations, some of the higher profile issues include grandstand ticket holder viewing quality and the potential inclusion of the Frankton business district in the event area.

Resolution of visibility issues has been extensively worked on by the event director, however one of the key issues for visibility is the location of a large tree on the corner of Seddon Road and Mill St. Council will determine its preferred action or non-action regarding the tree and then if further investigation is determined, Council will consult directly with local tree preservation groups, who worked closely with Council throughout the entire event planning process.

Councillor Angela O’Leary, who is also the chairperson of the Frankton Community Liaison group, says that whether the Frankton business and retail district become incorporated into the event area will be a decision that will be largely determined by the community itself.

“The Frankton Community Liaison group has re-grouped with a long term view of working with the Frankton community around event issues and will be a conduit to ensure Council understands exactly what the community consensus is on this issue. Council wants what the community wants, so our job is to ensure we really understand what that is.”

The Liaison Group has recently reorganised its membership to better reflect representation of retail trade and residents and to introduce three West Ward Councillors into the group.

Hamilton mayor Bob Simcock says that the process to identify improvements for the event in future years started as soon as the event finished in April.

"We knew then that there were a number of issues we wanted to review closely. We received comprehensive feedback that has allowed the report to drill right down. Now Council will concentrate on the most significant and pressing issues and determine a path forward that will ensure next years event will be stronger again.

“The community can rest assured that there will be no arbitrary decisions made. All issues will receive full Council scrutiny and any decisions relating to resource consent conditions will undergo a thorough public engagement process.”

ENDS


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