WAGGA may have found its "big thing" according to mayor Kerry Pascoe after a consortium of local businessmen yesterday revealed plans for a $10 million driver training complex and race track.
The ambitious group, which includes developer Mick Neason and Precision Parts owner Daryl Day, hope one day to attract an elite race series such as the V8 Supercars to the city but for now their focus is on a state-of-the-art driver training centre.
The centre will be called the Riverina Motor Complex and is to be located on a large parcel of land on Wokolena Road, near the archery complex, at Alfredtown.
It will include a skid pan, classrooms and a sealed track for advanced driver and rider training techniques.
Spokesman for the group, Doug Wait, yesterday told the Advertiser the driver training centre could be up and running within 18 months, with the first phase of the project worth about $5 million.
“It’s a three-stage project and our estimates on the investment is it could be over $10 million,” Mr Wait said.
“We think the driver training aspect of it, with the way the fatality rate on roads is going, could be a really good thing to help educate young drivers.”
And according to Mr Day, the driver training centre has created plenty of interest in the marketplace and represents good value for the consortium’s investment.
“The driver training centre will be put out to tender once the DA (development application) is approved,” he said.
“So the intention is to sell that part of the project and it’s similar at any racetrack around the world where different parts of the track have a value in the marketplace.”
Mr Wait outlined a plan to attract “big events”, saying the facility could eventually be in a position to target a national race series.
It’s a vision that has struck a chord with Councillor Pascoe, who said Wagga’s search for an icon or “a big thing” could be over.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the city, providing it ticks all the boxes it needs to for a development of that type,” Cr Pascoe said.
“It will cater for a whole range of motor racing and motor tests and I suppose it could be looked at as the big thing for the city.”
Wagga MP Daryl Maguire was a vocal advocate for a regional driver training centre when the idea was floated by insurance company AAMI, just over five years ago and said the idea was worth a second look.
“I’ve always been an advocate for better driver training for all drivers, but particularly young drivers,” Mr Maguire said.
The Riverina Motor Complex backers will present the DA for the project to council tomorrow.