RESIDENTS worried about the flood implications of a proposed harness racing track near North Wagga will continue to fight against the application, despite Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) declaring it will go ahead.
The Southern Joint Regional Planning Panel deliberated over the $6.5 million track for more than an hour last Thursday, before deferring the decision despite Wagga City Council’s (WWCC) recommendation to pass the development.
Dan Grentell opposed the application because of zoning issues and believed the excavation of 56,000 cubic metres for the track would be in addition to other fill not stipulated.
While Mr Grentell is in favour of development, he believes the site isn’t right because it interferes with flood mitigation on the floodplain.
He said the panel’s extensive questioning last week was a positive sign members wouldn’t make a decision until HRNSW provided all relevant information.
North Wagga Residents' Association secretary Jenny Wood believes the development will have a “cumulative impact” on locals.
The panel demanded HRNSW consider relocating the stables and truck parking to south south-western corner to minimise traffic noise and visual impact when they deferred the decision.
“It gives us hope if and when it does go ahead it won’t have an impact,” Ms Wood said. “It’s a process and we’ll still be engaged with that process.”
Despite maintaining there was adequate information to make a decision last week, Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) chairman Rex Horne remains optimistic.
He dismissed claims insurance premiums had inflated by $19,000 under plans for the proposed development, maintaining it would only have a “minimal” impact.
Mr Horne believed much of the information the panel requested was covered in the three years spent planning the project, but admitted some may not have been put forward in the report.
He said HRNSW was so conscious of the impact on nearby residents that they’d changed their modelling from a one in 20 year flood to a one in 10 year flood.
HRNSW expects correspondence from WWCC this week to then meet with industry experts so a resolution can be reached within three months.
“We’re definitely not going to walk away,” Mr Horne said.
“We believe this is the right position for it.”
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