READY, SET, GO: Carnell Raceway brings competitors and spectators from far and wide. Photo Linden Morris / Stanthorpe Border Post
READY, SET, GO: Carnell Raceway brings competitors and spectators from far and wide. Photo Linden Morris / Stanthorpe Border Post Linden Morris

Racing future in air

THE issue of whether or not to allow a total of 40 race days a year at Carnell Raceway is yet to be decided after the Southern Downs Regional councillors opted to go into a mediation process with the applicants and submitters during yesterday's general meeting in Warwick.

This path of action also means the council have neither approved nor refused the request to use the raceway for driver trainer sessions or as a camping ground during race meetings.

Director of Planning and Environment Ken Harris advised the councillors against going down the mediation path as it would open the door for the applicant to take the council to court.

But Councillor Jamie Mackenzie said he would prefer to go into mediation than refuse the application altogether.

"Okay if we defer we risk an appeal, but I think that is very unlikely, the discussion needs to be had," he said.

"The mediation process needs to be focused on an alternative decision."

Councillors Neil Meiklejohn and Vic Pennisi both raised concerns about how the mediation process would include all of the 86 submitters.

After plenty of discussion it was decided that a letter would be sent to all of the submitters advising them of the mediation meeting.

But not all of the submitters will be able to directly participate in the meeting.

Submitters, from each side of the argument, will be asked to nominate a certain number of people to act as spokespeople for their group.

Other submitters will be allowed to attend the meeting as observers, which means they are not allowed to make any comments.

When it came time to vote all the councillors except Jo McNally, Glyn Rees and Mayor Peter Blundell were for the decision.

Cr McNally said she was not sure what the mediation process would achieve.

"I would have loved to see the application approved but that is not going to happen based on the impact report," she said.

"I don't think that this mediation process will be able to find any common ground.

"If people want to take it to the next step and appeal that is up to them, it is not what the council is here to do.

"It is the council's job to consider it based on the planning scheme."

The date, time and venue for the mediation meeting is yet to be determined.

For more on the community's reaction see Tuesday's Border Post.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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