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Kingscliff residents fight to save seaside park from being used as World Rally pits area

See also below: Local Resident decribes how World Rally will disrupt lives of quite coastal community.

Kingscliff residents outraged at plans to use Jack Baylis Park in Marine Parade Kingscliff as the "pits area" for the planned Repco Rally Australia in September have come out fighting.

They have organised a meeting in the park at 11am on Saturday 18 April to brief residents on the damaging takeover of the park planned for a month or more.

Local resident Max Hopper, OAM, who was Chief Commissioner at Bass Coast Shire Council from 1994 to 1999 said "It is inappropriate and totally unacceptable to take a popular foreshore park as the service centre for rally cars."

"If that is allowed Kingscliff residents can expect that our beach front park will be the centre for wild parties with many revelers sleeping in the park and the dunes."

"There is no way that Council will be able to enforce its rules on alcohol consumption, open fires and protection of vegetation on the dunes."

According to information provided by Council, the organizers of the rally plan to use a large part of the park on the foreshore at Marine Parade Kingscliff to service the competing rally cars. Sections of the park will be fenced off and the grass removed to allow installation of a 'temporary' gravel surface. Some trees may have to be removed to allow access by the rally cars.

Repco Rally Australia is one round of the World Rally Championships held each year. It is planned to hold the Australian leg each alternate year for ten years with an option to extend for a further ten years. In the alternate years it is planned to run the event in New Zealand.

Kingscliff Ratepayers and Progress Association want the car maintenance area to be somewhere else, preferably not in a residential area.

In other parts of the world locals are no more impressed than Kingscliff residents.

In Cyprus, for example, trees were felled across the rally route and an official was kidnapped by protesters. In other parts of Europe hay bales have been placed across the roads to block the rally cars.

The event was run in Western Australia until 2006 when the Government there refused to pay Rally expenses, because the economic benefits promised by Rally promoters failed to happen.

What you can do: attend the planned protest meeting at Jack Baylis Park on Marine Parade at 11am on Sat 18 April. Phone 0438 357 452 for more information.

Local Resident decribes how World Rally will disrupt lives of quite coastal community

Max Hopper said big events usually drive off usual customers from local businesses and then mobile vans and caterers cream off spending by visitors.

Mr Hopper also expressed concern that elderly residents would be placed at risk because of the traffic restrictions that were planned for the duration of the rally.

"The rally cars will be traveling back and forth from the park to the race area several times a day causing traffic chaos" he said.

"We have been told by Mike Rayner from Tweed Council that Marine Parade will be reduced to one lane in one direction during the rally and totally closed for several hours each day of the actual racing."

"Many elderly residents require daily home visits for health care and home help" he said.

"How will the carers be able to get to the residents with the disruption of the local traffic system?" he asked.

Residents are also worried about the impact on local wildlife. Mr Hopper said "The Tweed is home to 100 vulnerable species of wildlife and 23 endangered species."

"They will be placed at greater risk as a result of this rally" he said. "The timing of the rally coincides with their breeding season."

"Many residents moved to this area because of the 'green' image it projects" he said "and they are not happy about secret deals by the state government and the local council to host an event that is just the opposite of that image."

Mr Hopper invited all concerned local residents to attend the planned protest meeting at Jack Baylis Park on Marine Parade at 11am on Saturday 18 April. In case of wet weather please come the Community Hall. For further information ring 0438 357 452