Wakefield Park could be opened up to a wider range of motor sports, car manufacturer sales, pushbikes, markets and much more under an ambitious plan to expand the raceway.
Owner BAC WMR Holdings Pty Ltd, an entity of the Benalla Auto Club, has lodged a development application outlining $5.6 million in new infrastructure for the venue, 10km southeast of Goulburn on Braidwood Road.
Operations manager Dean Chapman says the overall investment is greater and is designed to modernise the complex.
"When we started out in 1994 it was a historical motor vehicle venue but we've grown. We need a development application that will give us facilities equal to today's standards and take us into the future," he said.
"We want to open up our offerings and with that comes an infrastructure upgrade to entice people like high-end manufacturers."
The DA proposes a two-storey pit-lane building with a corporate function, cafe and guest area, first floor viewing terrace, race control and commentary box, 14-vehicle garage, office and administration, medical centre and ambulance and emergency response vehicle parking.
It also outlines construction of a new off-road experience area, ongoing use of the camping area and existing visitor accommodation facilities in conjunction with motor sport activities.
And for something different, it's proposing 12 markets a year, with a mix of farm produce and motor-related items.
Importantly, it also seeks to formalise a noise management and mitigation regime. The terms were agreed with the council and neighbours following complaints and a noise prevention notice issued in January, 2020.
The agreement follows months of negotiations. However the company has warned in the DA that the existing approvals and noise limits already impose "onerous restrictions" on Wakefield Park.
"BAC WMR Holdings Pty Ltd will continue to assess the effect of these restrictions on the viability of the raceway," the document states.
"It would be regrettable if regulation of the site necessitates its closure and sale."
The company said this would also impact negatively on the Goulburn region, into which the raceway generated $16.95 million annually.
Benalla Auto Group bought the complex in 2007.
Mr Chapman said the 2.2km track was 10 years old and like other aspects, needed upgrading, to compete with other complexes.
"Our core audience is motor sport enthusiasts but we want to provide for a wider range of people," he said.
That includes targeting "high-end" manufacturers to demonstrate their road legal vehicles and up-sell to customers. Some like Hyundai and Holden already test their cars at Wakefield.
A proposed off-road one-hectare space in the southeastern zone is designed for 4WD training, corporate experiences and recreational use.
Mr Chapman said he wanted more pushbike cyclists to use the facility, beyond the current one day per week. A fun-run circuit, foam run and a 'tough mudder' endurance race, where competitors negotiate an obstacle course, and a caravan expo are also in the mix.
"We have so much space and amenities to support them," he said.
Likewise, he's keen to expand the current learner driver program, teaming up with car providers, and to make the facility more available to police and NSW Fire and Rescue for training.
Charging stations for electric vehicles are also planned.
The DA enshrines a maximum noise limit of 95 decibels within 30 metres of the track, as measured by a Soundweb system. A sound control officer will also attend each event to enforce noise management controls.
Mr Chapman said these measures considered input from the council and residents. A community consultative committee was also formed and met for the first time in August to discuss the DA.
The company stressed that it would not surrender any existing approvals until it was assured new ones were acceptable. If conditions were "unduly onerous" it would not act on the DA but continue to operate under the existing consent.
Wakefield Park currently employs 10 full time workers and 10 casuals. But the expanded operation would require about 20 full time employees.
"The biggest takeaway is that this venue needs to be for everyone, not just cars," Mr Chapman said.
"...But whatever we decide on needs to be viable. It's a discussion on what we see as fair and I hope people get to comment and support what we're trying to do. I think the development will be beneficial for the Goulburn region."
The DA is on public exhibition until November 5.
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