Benaraby centre gains recognition

A MOTORSPORT precinct is a step closer to being recognised, with a study into the proposal revealed last week.

The meeting featured stakeholders and the Gladstone Regional Council to hear the results of a council-funded study into the precinct’s development.

Motorsport clubs including the Gladstone District Dirtriders Club, the Gladstone Auto Club and the Gladstone Go-Kart Club attended.

At present, numerous motorsport groups are situated just off the Bruce Highway near Benaraby, and the access to the different facilities is one of the major pluses for the venture.

Gladstone Auto Club president Peter Booth said the master plan presented was a step in the right direction to securing motorsport for the future in the Gladstone region.

“When it’s in place, it will give motorsport a safeguard against noise complaints and environmental issues which can arise,” he said.

As some motorsport facilities across Queensland are being forced to close, Booth said, the Benaraby precinct was a great opportunity to be seized.

“I think it will be fantastic, and I think most of the clubs would be fairly excited with the future,” Booth said.

Gladstone Regional Council sport and recreation co-ordinator Steve Bankier said council was “very supportive” of the motorsport precinct concept, and happy to pay for the study, which cost $40,000.

“Council is right behind the clubs in getting it off the ground,” Bankier said.

“We’ve got an opportunity to lock away land in the area, and not impact on housing, which is an issue facing many motorsport clubs in Queensland.”

Bankier pointed out the drag strip at Benaraby was the only one between Brisbane and Mackay, and the Jono Porter Memorial Drive track is of a national standard.

The creation of a designated motorsport precinct would be “pretty significant”, Bankier said.

Bankier said the next step in the process was helping the clubs work together to attract funding from levels of government to help with construction costs and improvements.

Another necessary ingredient of seeing the proposal move ahead would also be the forming of an overarching Benaraby motorsport body representing clubs in the area.

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