NEW DRAWCARD: $30M reason to get Coast’s motor running
A MULTI-million dollar Fraser Coast motor complex should be listed as a priority project as the state's tourism industry charts a course to recovery, a motorsports advocate says.
Queensland Tourism on Tuesday revealed a priority "wishlist" of projects that would help rebuild the $27 billion industry crippled by the coronavirus pandemic.
An expansion of the Great Sandy Straits Marina and Urangan Harbour and completion of the Hervey Bay-Maryborough rail trail are among the Fraser Coast's priority projects.
Ben Collingwood, president of the Wide Bay Motor Complex, said the development of a $30 million racing precinct near Maryborough should also be listed as a priority.
The project, which includes plans for a khanacross off-road racing facility, drag strip and road circuit, has faced constant hurdles and delays since it was first approved in 2017.
Land lease disputes between the Wide Bay Motor Complex committee, State Government and Fraser Coast Regional Council were only resolved in September last year.
A meeting between the council and committee to lodge a development application for the balance of the project is imminent.
Once the application is lodged, the committee will secure funding for the project.
Mr Collingwood said the complex would draw people into the region and reignite the struggling economy.
"We need to be looking at projects that are going to bring in a lot of visitors from interstate," Mr Collingwood said.
"Motorsports competitors are one of the strongest in terms of travelling distances to attend events and they do it in great numbers."
"Political buy-in and the support from governments is critical," Mr Collingwood said.
"It would be good to see a big project go ahead in the region."
The complex's amenities and off-road racing facilities have been built.
It faced major delays as the land identified for the development is owned by the State Government and leased by the council.
Committee members were not able to conduct commercial activity on the land as it would violate the terms of their lease.
The dispute was resolved last year after Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham wrote to the committee confirming it met the lease requirements.
Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders has indicated his support for the project but reiterated the committee needed to comply with the existing lease conditions.
He was contacted for comment but did not respond before print deadline.
Fraser Coast deputy mayor Darren Everard said the council recognised the potential of the Motor Complex despite it not being a priority project.
"We have always supported the WBMC and want to see it succeed and move to further stages," Cr Everard said.
"The events that it would hold, and the participants and spectators that will attend, will be a great boost for our regional economy."
Cr Everard said the priority projects identified by Tourism Queensland were in addition to the "battle-ready" projects listed to the State Government, which included the Boundary Rd extension and redevelopment of the Maryborough Showgrounds and Equestrian Park.
"The projects would have an immediate effect and protect jobs by ensuring local businesses could continue to employ staff."