Former RMS director's support for city raceway

The mapped area on Wokolena Road for the motorway.
The mapped area on Wokolena Road for the motorway.

A PROMINENT road safety advocate and engineer has thrown his support behind Wagga’s proposed speedway complex.

Former director of road safety at Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) Lex Stewart is driving the push for 85 hectares off Wokolena Road to be transformed into a legal speedway. 

The $3.78 million motor-sport facility was given the green light by Wagga City Council in 2015, but the 74 conditions placed on the project – including $500,000 roadworks – made it unviable.

Mr Stewart has slammed council for pumping the brakes on the proposal. 

“It’s a fantastic idea to allow people to get training and have a bit of fun in a controlled environment,” he said.

“These are people who will no longer be taking risks on public roads and endangering people’s lives.

“My son goes down to the speedway in Sydney on his motorbike and he’s been a safer driver since.”

The seasoned engineer also said the city would also reap the benefits of a surge in tourism.

“There’s no reason why council should delay this,” he said.

The proposed site.

The proposed site.

Motor Cycling Australia, Confederation of Australian Motor Sport and the NRMA have endorsed the initiative. 

Winton Motor Raceway, near Benalla, contributes more than $60 million to the local economy every year, according to its council. 

However, Committee 4 Wagga (C4W) is sceptical the outdoor recreational facility will ever come to fruition, citing “cost prohibitive” conditions as a significant factor.

A shattered Mick Neason, who owns the land earmarked for development, said “the whole thing is on hold” and has accused Wagga council of doing “nothing but put barriers in the way”.

Council hosed down the claims, urging it had not held up developments. 

“The development of the Wokolena Race Track is firmly with the developers,” director of commercial development Paul Somerville said.

“There is nothing Wagga City Council is doing to hold up or impede the proposed development.

“A number of conditions of consent were placed on the development when it was approved by council in November 2014, some of which are RMS requirements, that aim to ensure the racetrack is developed and operated in an appropriate manner in accordance with all relevant standards and regulations.”