Contents: ">A Kyogle district resident states the case against the motor race, ">The Repco FIA World Championship Rally is More Than a Koala can Bear, " id="ResidentsOverruled">How the Kyogle District Chamber of Commerce, Rally Australia and the Kyogle Council imposed the motor race on local residents.
Residents of the Kyogle district of NSW, just south of the Queensland border, are organising to protect their way of life and local wildlife from the threat of an scheduled to be held in September 2009.
" id="TheCaseAgainst">A Kyogle district resident states the case against the motor race
The following letter sent, recently to the Tweed Echo by Kyogle district resident Kathryn Kermode, states the priciple objections to the holding of the Repco FIA World Championship Rally in the area.
Gary Connelly from Repco Rally Australia seems to be surprised that many residents along the proposed route of his event are not welcoming him warmly. We await Dr Steven Phillips environmental report with great interest, to see how Rally Australia will demonstrate protection of our threatened species, but this report will not address all of our serious concerns.
Noise. We are residents of a quiet country road. We want to attract tourists to our road who appreciate the natural virtues and who have the time to stop and look at the view. Noise is not a new problem for the WRC (World Rally Championship), reading the Irish press reports it appears that the residents in Drumkeerin have summoned the organizers of the WRC to court over the noise. They "the previous rally held in November 2007 was held with total disregard for residents, their property and safety, and that the noise leading up to it caused total sleep deprivation and the "terrible" noise of the rally itself left animals and a disabled person traumatised."
Lack of Consultation. The public community meetings, that were stacked with outsiders by the organisers, have not answered the serious concerns raised by the residents. Repco Rally Australia has however successfully and derisively, divided our community and marginalized the residents. It is a great shame that Events NSW who have handed over our taxpayers dollars did not consider the region and undertake a feasibility study prior to the event being placed in Northern NSW. It seems the process of decision-making has been rushed and the event is being pushed through without true consultation and consideration of the community living along the stages.
Dangerous Copy Cats. The WRC is a dangerous sporting event. Drivers, co-drivers and spectators have been killed during the WRC; Repco Rally Australia will be working hard to try to ensure this will not happen in our region. They cannot however promise that there will not be a fatal accident and will have helicopters on site ready to airlift the wounded to hospital if necessary. Have Repco Rally Australia considered that the residents do not want anyone dying at our mailboxes? In fact, many residents do not want a high speed, long-term activity on our roads. Existing research indicates a link between motor racing and road accidents. Accident rates can be higher in localities that have been associated with a motor racing event, casualty accident rates on the public roads around Melbourne's Albert Park significantly increased when the public roads were used as a Formula One race circuit.
The majority of people attending the WRC are young males, a category already over represented in our region as road statistics. This is not a family fun event, we are asking the wider community to fully consider the repercussions to our young drivers if nothing else.
Pollution and Resources. Rally Australia's carbon offsetting will not reduce the level of pollution that the residents who live on the route will be forced to endure. All the dust, fumes, noise and the potential for fire that is created by a high speed motor sporting event of this scale.
Liberty and Amenity. Repco Rally Australia is removing our civil liberty and amenity. They are restricting and removing access to our properties and the public roads that we pay our council rates money to upkeep.
The Cost. NSW taxpayers are footing the bill for the event. Would you as a taxpayer rather the millions be spent on hospitals and education, or do you see this event, which has a non-viable record of accomplishment as a good choice for the NSW Government. The amount of money that Events NSW has provided Repco Rally Australia with, should be disclosed and accounted for.
Community Aspiration. Our community wants to collectively lighten our footprint on the earth. We aspires towards principles of the organic industry; home grown, hand made, slow food, bird watching, bush walking, recycling and rainforest restoration are activities that we want to embrace and encourage for our region. We would like to see the local B & B's full every weekend, we would like to see the verandahs in the village eateries bustling with customers every weekend, not overflowing and unable to cope once every second year.
The WRC will benefit a few financially in the short term, but it will carry a huge burden of cost for the residents in the long term.
See also: of 8 Apr 09, in the Sligo Champion of 19 Nov 08, in the Leitrim Observer of 16 Jan 09, in the Irish Independent of 11 Dec 08, of 19 Dec 08,
of 5 Feb 09 about how the supposedly cash-strapped NSW government, which is subsidising the rally in Northern NSW, squandered AU$120 million on World Youth Day last year.
" id="MoreThanAKoalaCanBear">The Repco FIA World Championship Rally is More Than a Koala can Bear
The following letter was in the community newspaper Northern Rivers Talking Turkey on 25 Feb 09.
If the dumb animals could speak I wonder what they would say, would they ask for justice or compensation? The day after Rally Australia walking into Kyogle and divided the community with its fun map, , about three meters from the ground in a grey gum, right beside Sargents Road.
Sargents Road has a known koala population, it is quite possibly a koala corridor as it is lined with schedule 2, koala feed tree species, it could even be core koala habitat. Why then would Kyogle Council and Rally Australia even consider it as a good option for their race map?
I ask Kyogle Council and Rally Australia, if Sargent the koala happens to be up in his tree, or any other tree, during the reconnaissance exercises or the race what will Gary Connelly and his troupe of volunteers do? Will they
a) Ignore the fact that there are koalas in the trees and race their cars up
to 200 kph
b) Poke it with a stick, throw things at it or try other methods to scare it
c) Knock it out of the tree, catch it and take it away.
There is already a plan in place, it has been created by the Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) to ensure the survival of the koala in the wild and it is called the Recovery Plan for the Koala, published November 2008. It would be wise for Kyogle Council to recognize this and the value that koalas have for our Community, both in terms of their presence in our landscape but also their unfulfilled potential to attract the tourist dollar.
It would be foolish of Rally Australia to ignore our plea to protect our koala. We must as a Community realize that we need to protect our wild populations of koalas NOW. This iconic species is declining in nature, and is fast headed toward the Endangered List. We ask Rally Australia to think of the future. We cannot buy back the species once we have pushed it to the brink; it is not like offsetting carbon emissions.
One intelligent choice remains for all those involved: The World Rally Championship should immediately be re-routed away from koala habitat.
" id="ResidentsOverruled">How the Kyogle District Chamber of Commerce, Rally Australia and the Kyogle Council imposed the motor race on local residents
This was orignally published in a Kyogle District local newspaper wiht the title "Kyogle Rallying ..."
In a very embarrassing slip up, Gary Upson from Rally Australia accidentally sent an email intended for Arthur Piggott, Kyogle Council's General Manager, to one of the rally's opponents. In it, Gary Upson asked Arthur if he could get as many of his pro-rally supporters to the meeting and suggested that he would do the same from within the rally fraternity. Well, sure enough, that meeting had people from the Rally Fraternity coming all the way from Brisbane.
sponsor a website where they post Public Relations Statements (e.g. ). These statements are sent out to the Media as Media Releases for Journalists who are obliged to rehash them into news items. One of their most recent stories is about Kyogle's District Chamber of Commerce giving their support, in principle, to the Rally. Rally Organisers asked pro-rally supporters to make their voices heard in the community, in the media, everywhere in order to drown out the voice of those against the rally but it is not the role of big business to attempt to divide our community through blatant lobbying. The most memorable demonstration of this divisive behavior was Rally Australia's stacking of February's Community Consultation meeting. In a very embarrassing slip up, Gary Upson from Rally Australia accidentally sent an email intended for Arthur Piggott, Kyogle Council's General Manager, to one of the rally's opponents. In it, Gary Upson asked Arthur if he could get as many of his pro-rally supporters to the meeting and suggested that he would do the same from within the rally fraternity. Well, sure enough, that meeting had people from the Rally Fraternity coming all the way from Brisbane. This debacle also reveals a possible politicisation of Kyogle Council's administrative staff, risky business given Council's previous track record. And by the way, who exactly requested a Police presence at the meeting? Is NSW Police also to be co-opted to the pro-rally agenda?
Where can Rally opponents turn when their own Council no longer represents their best interests ... ?
Where can Rally opponents turn when their own Council no longer represents their best interests but represents primarily the interests of a Client who will soon have a Development Application pending? I would argue that Rally Australia has a Public Relations strategy with malicious intent. I would also argue that Kyogle Council doesn't have the planning policies to even consider the World Rally Championship's Development Application. What have we got to lose if this project proposal is gone over with a fine toothed comb by a panel with expertise in all the issues it raises?
On Rally Australia's website, Kyogle Chamber of Commerce President, Councillor and Businesswoman, Ms Lynette Zito, claimed quite ingenuously, that the Chamber "did not ask the proposed rally to come here, but now that they are looking to hold this international event in our location we are looking at what we want to make of it." The reason the Chamber didn't invite the Rally may have something to do with the idea that it wasn't the kind of Sustainable business opportunity they were looking for. After fourteen separate workshops with community members in the preparation of Kyogle Council's Sense of Place Economic Statement, it was concluded that throughout "the consultation process the community has echoed a range of common desires. Whilst most recognize the need for economic development and growth, they fear the loss of their way of life and core cultural elements that build a sense of ownership and pride in their community." Too right they do!
At the Ordinary Council Meeting of April 21, an urgent motion to approve the Rally in principle was passed without further discussion. At the next Ordinary Council Meeting after that, in May, likewise, there was no further discussion. There have been no Feasibility Studies or Council Environmental Studies so I ask: How do we know the Rally will be good for our Town?
The people of Kyogle collectively identified the "environment, its protection and enhancement [as] a priority to the community as it is the reason why people chose this place to live." The statement revealed that the residents who attended the Council's workshops felt the Environment was critical to the growth of tourism in the area and was in fact its greatest attraction. So yes, why would these people invite a Motor Sporting event into the community? The truth is that it seemed nobody invited it except a few people who had discussed the issue with Kyogle Ex- Mayor Ernie Bennett. He met with the World Rally Championship organizers in mid April 2008. At the Ordinary Council Meeting of April 21, an urgent motion to approve the Rally in principle was passed without further discussion. At the next Ordinary Council Meeting after that, in May, likewise, there was no further discussion. There have been no Feasibility Studies or Council Environmental Studies so I ask: How do we know the Rally will be good for our Town? Did Mr Bennett know something more and did he pass the Arcane knowledge of such onto the new Mayor Mr Brown? That rushed and undebated urgent Motion was all that was needed for this Rally's Organisers to come speeding into our lives telling us what we should and should not be doing for the Rally and what is and isn't good for our Economy and our future. I hope the lesson of this is that more of us become involved in Local Council.
That rushed and undebated urgent Motion was all that was needed for this Rally's Organisers to come speeding into our lives telling us what we should and should not be doing for the Rally and what is and isn't good for our Economy and our future. I hope the lesson of this is that more of us become involved in Local Council.
Kyogle Council's Sense of Place Economic Statement placed great importance on the values and guiding principles that emerged from the Consultative Meetings it initiated saying that they articulated "those fundamental and common rules that should be applied in the planning and implementation of all future projects." That statement seems like a hollow one now. I believe the common thought about the Rally among Pro-rally supporters is that, like Lynette implies, it just fell into our lap and we should all make the most of it. We can't build an envisioned Sustainable Tourism Industry in such an undisciplined manner. We are sending mixed messages to those we previously encouraged, investors with Eco Tourism, Green and Organic Agriculture and Farm Gate to Plate projects, to name a few. Kyogle must be pro-active in determining its way forward without losing the unique identity of being Gateway to the World Heritage Gondwana Rainforests as well as a Gateway for its children into a reinvented 21st Century Rural Heartland.
Our young men don't need any more encouragement to find out the hard way that speed kills. Even being a spectator at a Motor Sports event is a dangerous activity and one which the World Rally Championship Organisers refuse to underwrite with any moral responsibility.
Motor Sports is an incompatible Eco activity, it is largely irrelevant to the Agricultural Industry and it can only undermine the very World Heritage Environmental values Kyogle's residents so obviously value. Our young men don't need any more encouragement to find out the hard way that speed kills. Even being a spectator at a Motor Sports event is a dangerous activity and one which the World Rally Championship Organisers refuse to underwrite with any moral responsibility. Before you even think about where you're going to find a park to watch the race from, I invite you to peruse this Confederation of Motor Sports' ">Indemnity clause for potential spectators to September's World Rally Championship. Would you sign it?
" id="IndemnityForm">Form to indemnify rally orgnisers from legal liability arising from injury
Repco Rally Australia Tour: September 2-7, 2009.
Exclusion of liability, release and assumption of risk motor sport is dangerous
In exchange for being able to attend or participate in the event, you agree:
to release Confederation of Australian Motor Sport Ltd ("CAMS") and Australian Motor Sport Commission Ltd, promoters, sponsor organisations, land owners and lessees, organizers of the event, their respective servants, officials, representatives and agents including Rally Sport Magazine and Rally Australia Pty Ltd (collectively, the "Associated Entities") from all liability for your death, personal injury (including burns), psychological trauma, loss or damage (including property damage) ("harm") howsoever arising from your participation in or attendance at the event, except to the extent prohibited by law;
that CAMS and the Associated Entities do not make any warranty, implied or express, that the event services will be provided with due care and skill or that any materials provided in connection with the services will be fit for the purpose for which they are supplied; and
to attend or participate in the event at your own risk.
You acknowledge that:
the risks associated with attending or participating in the event include the risk that you may suffer harm as a result of:
motor vehicles (or parts of them) colliding with other motor vehicles, persons or property;
acts of violence and other harmful acts (whether intentional or inadvertent) committed by persons attending or participating in the event; and
the failure or unsuitability of facilities (including grand-stands, fences and guard rails) to ensure the safety of persons or property at the event. motor sport is dangerous and that accidents causing harm can and do happen and may happen to you.
You accept the conditions of, and acknowledge the risks arising from, attending or participating in the event and being provided with the event services by CAMS and the Associated Entities.
Signed……………………………………………………………. Date ……………..