City chips in for motorplex block

By Chris Thomson | posted on October 25, 2018

ALBANY’S utilitarian den of democracy, devoid of much energy most meeting nights, was packed to the rafters on Tuesday night when 60-odd vocal motorsports enthusiasts rolled in to witness a vote on their long-awaited motorplex at Drome.

A secret report by chief Council engineer Matthew Thomson made public on the night, except for dollar values, recommended that councillors authorise City staff to buy a big lot on Down Road South that has been ear-marked for the motorplex.

Toward the end of a one-sided debate, Mayor Dennis Wellington dared any councillor wishing to speak against the recommendation to come forward.

Nobody did, the recommendation was unanimously approved, and someone in the gallery exclaimed: “Yeah!”.

Whistles and sustained applause followed before two-thirds of the gallery filed out to reconvene in the council car park.

Ahead of the council’s deliberations, Great Southern Motorplex Group Chairman Theo Newhouse said their decision on whether to buy the block or not would determine if his vision for a motor park at Drome “comes to fruition” or is “finished forever”.

“I expected a turnout, but, wow, these are all our supporters!” he enthused.

He said the motorplex would host state, and eventually national events, and deliver economic benefits to Albany.

Also, precipitating rapturous applause from the gallery was Albany Motorcycle Club President Matt Pearce whose Motocross riding members have no permanent home.

Mr Pearce said the motorplex would end years of uncertainty for the club, and allow two-wheel trailblazers to tear up a dirt track in a “safe, controlled environment”.

A recommendation that the purchase agreement also include a clause that the State sports department pay the City 90 per cent of the undisclosed purchase price was also unanimously approved.

That payment in turn is dependent on a development application being approved for the motorplex.

If the development application goes belly-up, the City has reserved the right to sell the block.

If eventually built, the motorplex, which Mr Newhouse calls the Albany Motorsport Park, will include a motocross circuit, and a multi-use track for four and two-wheel drives and mountain bikers.