Motorsport precinct address revealed at Bouldercombe

BOULDERCOMBE is poised to be Rockhampton’s home of motorsport.

Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow said council had entered into a conditional contract with ‘101 conditions’ for a 100ha site off the Burnett Highway at Bouldercombe.

The location for the site is 53199 Burnett Hwy, Bouldercombe, at the JRT Quarry.

Sports considered for the precinct include speedway (cars and bikes), motocross, 4WD track, driver school, rally track, touring car and drift track.

Cr Strelow said it could even include facilities for BMX and remote control car uses.

“Anything that fits within the motorsport genre,” she said.

The major attraction is moving the speedway which would in turn free up the showgrounds for other sports.

Mayor Margaret Strelow.
Mayor Margaret Strelow.

It is envisaged the showgrounds centre ring would then become the home for a high quality standard cricket and AFL venue.

“It is a chess game of moving sports around to give the best solutions for sports that are wanting to upgrade and move out of flood land,” Cr Strelow said.

“We have a lot of great sporting facilities and many of them need to get up out of the wet, many were saying they need to move into something bigger.

“We ended up with a chess game but the piece that had to be fitted was proper cricket and AFL facilities.

“We know the speedway are keen to get out of town and they are some challenges at the showgrounds.”

The pavilions at the showgrounds would also be looked at to be reshaped to provide seating on one side and shade on the other.

The tender documents for the design of the site were released in May and the contract was to be awarded in June to Driven International, who are an international firm partnered with an Australian company.

Location of the preferred site for the Rockhampton Motorsport Precinct at 53199 Burnett Hwy, Bouldercombe.
Location of the preferred site for the Rockhampton Motorsport Precinct at 53199 Burnett Hwy, Bouldercombe.

“We needed someone who really understood how to design a motorsport precinct and how to design for noise and dust,” Cr Strelow said.

“This isn’t something you want a first-timer doing.

“When we get to the stage of contract work on the ground, that will be locals.”

Master planning, technical assessments and community engagement will now take place.

For nearby residents, Cr Strelow said they will be paying particular close attention to noise, water and dust issues.

“We’ll soon be contacting local motorsport clubs to seek their input into the design of the precinct as the support and expertise of our local motor sporting community is key to ensuring a successful precinct,” Cr Strelow said.

“We’ll also be talking to the community throughout this project as it progresses through the different stages

“At this stage, we will be looking to report back to the community on the progress within the next two months for wider community consultation with a view to having the final plans before the end of the year.”

Given the large site, Cr Strelow said it does give them room to plan it well.

The master planning looks at portioning off sections to different motorsports, which those clubs could lease or apply for permits to use and seek funding for their sport.

“It enhances Central Queensland’s ability to host multiple motorsport events, and build Rockhampton as a hub for motorsport,” Deputy Mayor Neil Fisher said.

Bouldercombe has had a long association with speedway with a track there back in the 1980s.

“I think it’s going to bring back a lot of memories,” Cr Fisher said.

“There is also a long history of the speedway bikes and many of those families would love to see a track bring back the bikes at the speedway.”

Location of the preferred site for the Rockhampton Motorsport Precinct at 53199 Burnett Hwy, Bouldercombe.
Location of the preferred site for the Rockhampton Motorsport Precinct at 53199 Burnett Hwy, Bouldercombe.

Bouldercombe is now also a no-pub town after the only hotel was forced to close in October 2018 due to liquidation.

”There is going to be a long line of winners economically across the whole region, vacancy signs on our motels, to see our restaurants full, it’s going to have flow on effect on to the whole community,” Cr Fisher said.

Council put out a call to landholders in October last year for suitable locations for the precinct and were presented with the Bouldercombe site.

Part of the criteria was that it had to be flood free and not too far out of town. Cr Strelow said the rural location also encourages camping.

The precinct is still quite some time off yet, with funding yet to be allocated to the project.

“We know there is a long journey to go in designing,” Cr Strelow.

”This isn’t a tomorrow thing, our (land) contract talks about anywhere up to 12 months and it could be up to six months before we get designs.”

Council are also keeping their on the state election and will be looking to the state government for funding.

“We have no money in the forward budget for the project and that is a sign of COVID-19, so the quicker we get over the current problems we are having with our income stream, the quicker we can look at what we can do with the motorsport precinct,” Cr Strelow said.

Given the outstanding reaction from the community for Rockynats, it is expected a motorsport precinct will be well supported.

“We only have to look at how enthusiastically Rockynats was embraced and the tickets purchased,” Cr Strelow said.

“Motorsport just goes to the heart of our community as much as many other sports do.”