Australia’s Chris Atkinson during the Wales leg of the World Rally Championship earlier this month.
Australia’s Chris Atkinson during the Wales leg of the World Rally Championship earlier this month.

Rally organisers consult with Kyogle residents

RALLY Australia organisers have started a one-on-one consultation process with Kyogle residents living on the proposed race route.

Organising Committee Chairman Garry Connelly said canvassers had been on the streets for the past week.

“We’ve already done quite a few. I know that on one of the long stages, we’ve seen about three-quarters of the residents,” Connelly said.

“And generally we’ve found it very supportive.”

Rally Australia General Manager Gary Upson said door service allowed them to address individual concerns.

“We’ve given an undertaking that we’ll meet with each resident (directly affected) one-on-one,” he said.
“A variety of questions have been raised, mainly due to the fact people didn’t understand how the rally worked.

“We need to take all concerns seriously and address them and make residents happy so we can come back.

“We don’t want to be a one-hit wonder.”

Based on feedback from residents, Upson said environmental impact was the major issue of concern.
“The main thing is the potential environmental impact of the event,” he said.

“It is not our intention to scare the animals away. We’ll have a number of vehicles travel over the roads prior to the stages. The activities on the road should be sufficient to ensure animals will stay away.

“There have been reports we’d be flying a helicopter over to scare animals – it’s not true. There will be a helicopter but its purpose is not to scare animals away.

“Dust is (also) an issue. We’ve met with the individuals and discussed how that will affect them.”

While the event is scheduled to run from September 3 to 6 next year, Upson said residents would have access to the roads on each of those days.

“People are also worried about the impact on their ability to travel up and down the roads as they desire,” Upson said.

“We’re working one-on-one to find out what the specific needs and requirements are and we’ll see if we can address them.

“People initially thought the roads would be closed for a week. At this stage, each road will be used for one day for the rally. Residents will have the ability to move in and out in controlled spaces between the race.”

But Upson said mostly they’d been met with optimism from residents.

“There has been some concern but the majority of the residents are supportive of the event,” he said.

“At both meetings it was overwhelming support. Most of the residents we’ve visited, once we’ve had a chance to address their specific concerns, most are fully supportive.

“It’s a world championship event on their doorstep and a unique opportunity for residents to be part of it, have a barbecue, invite their mates around and watch it on their back doorstep.”


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