By Jeremy Nash
The proposed Velocity Park on Mount Panorama is one step closer to becoming a reality after the Federal Government pledged $10 million to the project.
The new grant brings the total funding up to $35 million, $17 million short of their target, with the new park set to provide a major tourist and economic boost in Bathurst.
The park is set to create approximately 220 jobs, both during construction and once it is completed. Bathurst City Councillor Warren Aubin set the new park will benefit Bathurst tremendously.
“It’s going to be an absolute economic boom to the city of Bathurst,” he said.
“That number of jobs is just in the initial construction of Velocity Park. It will probably bring a lot more than that. Once established, it depends what industries are set up in the industrial part of Velocity Park.”
Co-convener of the Mount Panorama Second Circuit Action Group Lachlan Sullivan reiterated these points, saying the extra tourism the park brings will have a positive impact on the Bathurst economy.
“You’ll see a different dynamic,” he said.
“A second stand-alone circuit over the back of the existing Mount Panorama circuit will be able to be used basically every day of the year. As a result, you’re going to see car clubs or driver training or clubs participating in historic car racing.”
“The food, the restaurants and the cafes are certainly going to benefit from a more regular contribution to motor sport in the area.”
Mr Sullivan said it won’t just benefit Bathurst.
“The proposal is really a regional proposal. I think that’s why the federal government has come on board.”
However, it’s not all positive. The park is set to be built on a sacred Wiradjuri site, which is an area of concern for Wiradjuri elder Dinawan Dyirribang.
“It’s got a significance within Wiradjuri country,” he said.
“It was a place where young men were taken to, to go through their initiation to go into manhood. That’s the significance of it from our perspective.”
Mr Dyirribang wants the mountain to be a significant place for all people of Bathurst.
“It should be more significant, it should be part of this town in understanding the significance of that mountain, to take the two cultures together of what it is with the car racing and the Wiradjuri significance of it.”
“This is a place for all of us, all the people of Bathurst, not just the elite people of Bathurst that are going to benefit from it.”
Mr Dyirribang had just one simple request if the project does go ahead.
“They really need to acknowledge the Wiradjuri significance of the place and treat it with respect. That’s all we’re asking for. And that they follow the processes of ensuring they’re not going to impinge on sites up there that are significant and need protection.”
It is more than likely the proposed park will be built, the council edging closer to its target of $52.5 million. Whether or not they listen to the concerns raised by Mr Dyirribang is yet to be seen.