Rally boss claims strong backing for Repco Rally

THE Repco Rally, due to be held in the Kyogle and Tweed shires in September, has strong community support, according to the event's chairperson, Gary Connelly.

“There is overwhelming support,” he said.

While he was aware of a few concerns by some Kyogle Shire residents, Mr Connelly said it was important to consider the benefits to the whole community.

A group of residents from Barkers Vale, known as the Hanging Rock Protection Group, is trying to stop the rally being staged along Williams Road because of concerns about its environmental impact.

However, Mr Connelly said rally representatives had visited people living in Williams Road and most had said they supported the rally.

He said an environmental scientist, Dr Stephen Phillips, had been hired to undertake an environmental impact study which would be part of the event's development application.

“He will conduct an assessment of the entire route and it will be very robust,” he said.

Mr Connelly said as soon as the assessment was finished a DA would be lodged with the Kyogle Council and any environmental issues raised would be addressed.

Kyogle Chamber of Commerce president Lynette Zito said the chamber would appoint a project co-ordinator in February to explore the benefits the rally may bring to Kyogle Shire.

“We believe if the rally goes ahead there is an opportunity for some economic benefit, but we don't know how much until we do our homework,” he said.

Ms Zito said one of the roles of the co-ordinator would be to find ways to encourage tourists to extend their stay when the three-day rally was over.

The chamber successfully applied to the Department of State and Regional Development for $30,000 to fund the project.

However, Barkers Vale resident Jacky Smith said that Mr Connelly had got his sums wrong.

“I have spoken to many people living along the proposed route at Barkers Vale and there is strong opposition to it by a large majority,” she said.

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