Speed­way won’t fight meet­ings de­ci­sion

Nelson Mail - - Front Page - Carly Gooch [email protected]

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.

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