SU­PER­CARS PLAN FOR ROCKY

The Morning Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - Steph Allen Stephanie.Allen@cap­news.com.au

ROCK­HAMP­TON revheads could be in for a treat if in­de­pen­dent can­di­date Mar­garet Strelow’s plans for an an­nual Su­per­cars event comes through.

The idea has been in Ms Strelow’s mind for a while, but now in the midst of a tough elec­tion cam­paign she has de­cided to put the plans into the fast lane.

Ms Strelow said Su­per­cars had the po­ten­tial to in­ject about $40 mil­lion a year into Rock­hamp­ton’s econ­omy.

She said it was also about hav­ing fun.

“One week­end – noisy as. There’s just no way to get over the fact that it’s a noisy event but it’s all day­time,” Ms Strelow said yes­ter­day as she took the Morn­ing

Bul­letin on a drive through a pro­posed route.

“What I’ve seen in Townsville is that the set-up is a cou­ple of weeks’ worth of work, it gets pulled down in around a week.

“But that one week­end has the same eco­nomic im­pact as if it was Beef Aus­tralia.

“So, masses of trucks and big rigs, a lot of in­ter­na­tional me­dia, just re­ally very in­tense.”

Sir Ray­mond Huish Drive is just one idea that has been put for­ward by com­mu­nity mem­bers for a po­ten­tial route, but Ms Strelow said it would be up to the coun­cil to come up with a lo­ca­tion that could ac­com­mo­date “40 big rigs, an­other 20 rigs that are as­so­ci­ated with the me­dia” as well as the pits, and room for the crowds of mo­tor­ing en­thu­si­asts.

Large con­crete bar­ri­ers would also be a part of the de­vel­op­ment, and an im­pact on the free flow of traf­fic would need to be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion.

“My un­der­stand­ing of the model for Su­per­cars is that a good deal of it is that the teams are spon­sored by com­pa­nies who need an

av­enue to get their prod­uct pro­moted,” Ms Strelow said.

“So, it’s quite a spe­cial­ist world and they can re­ally en­hance their own im­age by be­ing as­so­ci­ated with the win­ning teams. So, the whole race in­dus­try re­ally re­lies on these events be­ing held reg­u­larly enough to keep the ball rolling and this is a win­dow that we fit into beau­ti­fully.

“This is an event that puts our city on the map. For us, big­ger pic­ture, we are look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties to keep our ac­com­mo­da­tion houses full on week­ends as well as week­days.”

As well as the in­flux of tourists, the event would bring, some­thing as reg­u­lar as this po­ten­tial event could bring in Su­per­cars as­so­ciates to town “for a month or more be­fore the event” and a cou­ple of weeks after­wards, driv­ing up the eco­nomic po­ten­tial.

“I’m con­fi­dent that coun­cil could af­ford its share, but it would need to be fun­da­men­tally funded by state and fed­eral gov­ern­ment,” Ms Strelow said.

“This is a big tourism prod­uct, it’s re­ally im­por­tant for us to build on the great tourism things that we’ve got hap­pen­ing.

“Barra Bounty is just go­ing from strength to strength, Beef Aus­tralia its ramp­ing up to be the big­gest and best as they al­ways are. Each one is bet­ter than the last. Well, let’s look at the Su­per­cars as filling out and giv­ing us that an­nual event that lets us fill our ac­com­mo­da­tion places and have fun.”

If the coun­cil should de­cide to go ahead with the plan, gar­nered state and fed­eral sup­port and the com­mu­nity backed the pro­posal, Ms Strelow said she would “put for­ward for sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment to make sure that Rock­hamp­ton gets its place on that map”.

“I think there’s a win­dow right now for a pro­posal to come for­ward from Rock­hamp­ton and it will need sup­port. Coun­cil will need to make its de­ci­sions,” she said.

“There’s ob­vi­ously go­ing to be is­sues with fund­ing so it’s a good time to get this story out.

“Which­ever chair I’m sit­ting in, it’s im­por­tant that we’re start­ing to tell this story.

“We’re cer­tainly not ready to talk a fig­ure as a com­mu­nity. We’re not ready to put any par­tic­u­lar lo­ca­tion and coun­cil is still go­ing through pro­cesses but I think it’s just a good time to start to talk about it and look for sup­port.”

PHOTO: DAVE HUNT

NOISE FEST: V8 Su­per­cars driver Chaz Mostert in a prac­tice ses­sion. Mar­garet Strelow wants to bring a Su­per­cars event to Rock­hamp­ton.

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