Speedway won’t fight meetings decision
The Nelson Speedway Association has decided to drop an appeal against a court ruling restricting the length of its meetings at its Appleby track.
The Environment Court ruling in June found that the association had breached the 50-year-old consent which only allowed it to hold one-day races fortnightly during its October to April season.
Speedway president Wayne Martin said the association had lodged an appeal against the decision, but decided not to proceed after advice from its legal team. The association’s lawyers had suggested it would be more beneficial to apply for resource consent for multiday race meets.
‘‘We didn’t end up following through,’’ Martin said.
‘‘There was no guarantee. Spending tens of thousands of dollars for no gain would’ve been a tough pill to swallow if the result didn’t go our way.’’
The Top of the South Speedway off Lansdowne Rd, near Richmond, has held two-day events for many years. Meetings that used to occur over two days have been cut back to one day this season.
Martin said not being able to hold a two-day meeting ‘‘like we used to’’ was ‘‘less than ideal’’.
The number of meetings, which in the past could reach up to 20 per season, had been whittled down to just 13, he said.
But that hasn’t stopped the speedway association from lodging consents when needed, including for a two-day New Zealand title event for the Super Stock Grand Prix in January.
Martin said it was awaiting the outcome of a consent application lodged for a variation to run that meeting. ‘‘We’re using this consent basically as a litmus test for variations on the consent later on.’’
‘‘Spending tens of thousands of dollars for no gain would’ve been a tough pill to swallow if the result didn’t go our way.’’ Wayne Martin, Nelson Speedway Association president
The process had been a frustrating time for speedway members, trying to do the right thing by the association, and the neighbouring residents, he said.
‘‘We had tried to keep a low profile on this for fear of the neighbours being harassed or ridiculed. We can mostly keep control of our members, but we can’t really control the general public.’’
Member levies had been raised this season to help recover legal costs.
‘‘At the end of the day, we’ve just had to bite the bullet and try and move forward with what we’ve got,’’ Martin said.
‘‘I just want to run a track. This is definitely something I didn’t want to have to deal with.’’
Tasman District Council communications manager Chris Choat said the council had received the consent application and was still in the process of assessing how it would be treated, including what consultation was needed.
The Environment Court’s June decision followed a hearing on May 16 after two of the residents neighbouring the speedway sought declarations from the court that some 2016-17 meetings were in breach of the terms of the land use consent.
Neighbouring residents preferred not to comment.