North Lismore residents make a noise over speedway

SOMETIMES Val Axtens feels like she's living in a war zone.

First she hears a loud bang. Then the house shakes.

The 77-year-old former Lismore Citizen of the Year isn't living in Iraq, she's living in North Lismore.

But every weekend the speedway is in town, her health and sanity are placed in jeopardy.

Now the event's impact on North Lismore residents is about to increase. Lismore Speedway has lodged a proposal to expand its next season from 14 race nights to 20, running from October to June.

Residents who live close to the speedway were sent a letter from Lismore City Council advising them of the proposal last week. They only have until Wednesday to make a submission to the council.

Mrs Axtens has lived in North Lismore for 26 years and her house is about 200 metres from the speedway track.

"How can I say I don't want the speedway at all - which I do say - when I've lived here for so long," she said.

"I've had plenty of time to complain about the speedway and I haven't. But this is just too much. The sport's devotees are entitled to have their speedway, but I'm entitled to scream when they want to increase the number of nights they'll be racing.

Mrs Axtens is grateful she is already deaf in one ear - it makes it easier to block out all the noise the speedway creates.

She also suffers from chronic bronchiectasis, and all the dust stirred up from the speedway makes her feel 'pretty rotten' for at least three days after each meeting.

Lismore Speedway managing director David Lander sent the application to the council on April 26, saying it was important for the speedway to hold more two-day race meetings to compete for the public's 'weekend entertainment dollar'.

Lismore mayor Merv King said Lismore was considered the 'home of champions' when it came to speedway and the number of visitors and drivers the races attracted were a huge deal for the city.

"The speedway has been at that location for 40 years, and I'm sure council gets the odd complaint, but people should be used to it by now," Cr King said.

He said the council would consider all submissions before making a final decision.

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