Craig Warhurst

Rally anger over Rally in Kingscliff

KINGSCLIFF residents opposed to their main street being turned into a pit lane for the Tweed round of the World Rally Championship in September will protest the plan on Saturday.

The residents are concerned about the inconvenience to locals and business operators when traffic is limited in Marine Parade during the event, as well as the poss- ible anti-social behaviour of race fans that could result when the beachfront Jack Bayliss Park is taken over for the rally.

“The rally cars will be travelling back and forth from the park to the race area several times a day, causing traffic chaos,” said Kingscliff resident Max Hopper.

“It is inappropriate and totally unacceptable to take a popular foreshore park as the service centre for rally cars.

“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.

“Some residents require daily home visits for health care and home help.

“How will the carers be able to get to the residents with the disruption of the local traffic system?”

Gary Upson, general manger of event organisers Rally Australia, said if residents have concerns about accessing their properties they should contact him or his staff.

“We will start setting up the control area in Jack Bayliss Park about a month before the race,” Mr Upson said. “But Marine Parade will only have traffic controls in place during the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the event.

“We made a commitment to residents at the last community meeting held in Kingscliff that if they don't have a rear access to their homes, then we will provide them with a controlled access to their property along Marine Parade.

“We have tried to minimise the impacts on the community as much possible.”

Mr Upson rejected the claim by the residents' group that the event failed to generate as much money as believed when it was held in Western Australia, which lead to its cancellation in 2006.

“A socio-economic impact study of the Tweed event predicts the economic impacts will be greater than the $20 million it generated annually in Western Australia.

“We realise that there will be an imposition on residents during the event but are convinced the benefits to the whole community will outweigh that.”

The protest meeting will be held in Jack Bayliss Park from 11am on Saturday, or if it is raining, in the Kingscliff Community Hall. For more information phone 0438 357452.

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