THREE Yanakie residents – Matt Marriott, and Brian and Meg Thornborrow – made an impassioned plea during last Wednesday’s public presentation session to South Gippsland Shire Council, for the Corner Inlet Motorcycle Club to be held to its lease conditions and for Council to assist in relocating the club to a suitable location when the current lease expires.
While they admire the successful growth of the Club and have nothing against the sport itself at an appropriate location, the objectors said the significantly increasing numbers of motorcycles using the site, and the associated noise, dust and fumes were “intolerable”.
Representing a group of landowners in the area including people in closer density subdivisions at Yanakie and at Waratah’s Meikle and Soldiers Roads, the objectors argued that the site’s use was contrary to the established “clean, green and natural” tourism that the Council is trying to promote in the district.
The trio explained that when Club meets are held, and “20 bikes at a time are going around the course for hours”, the noise and dust are so appalling they are forced to leave home for the weekend.
In the case of Buln Buln accommodation cabins, tourist bookings cannot be taken for the scheduled motorcycle event weekend – which becomes an issue of loss when meetings are cancelled or the schedule changed.
In the Thornborrow’s case, they said the noise during competitions is so loud they are forced to shout to communicate with each other in their house, which is located some 500 metres from the club grounds.
Practice days were also an issue, with occasions of unsupervised motorcycle use being much noisier than the times when instruction and supervision was taking place.
Mr. Marriott suggested to Council that the elevated site, which has “stunning views” and is handy to a variety of tourist locations including Wilsons Promontory, would be valuable for a prime tourism use and could be profitably sold.
“This would free up money” for Council to assist the Club in establishing at a suitable location elsewhere,” he pointed out.
Mr. Marriott opined that the previous attempt to relocate the Club had been “half-hearted because the Yanakie site had never been taken right off the table” of consideration.
He added, “It’s a disingenuous argument to say that because the motorcycle track has been there for 35 years, it should always continue, because it has been expanding rapidly at a facility that was never purpose-built.”
If an alternative site could be not be found elsewhere in South Gippsland, Mr. Marriott firmly contended that the lease should still not be renewed because lack of an alternative was not a valid argument for continuing the use at an “inappropriate location”.
He warned that if the lease was renewed, the affected residents would be reluctantly forced to take legal action to assert their rights to reasonable amenity.
Another argument put by Mr. Marriott related to the site’s vegetation.
Contrary to implementing a lease condition relating to a vegetation plan for the site to protect remnant bush, Mr. Marriott claimed the Club had denuded the site except for a small patch of scrub in the site’s eastern section.
Mr. Marriott also suggested that the Club was unable to effectively suppress dust during competitions because it didn’t have sufficient water and other resources to do so.
Mr. Thornborrow added that he had photographic evidence of the dust, which also affects their rooftop water collection.
Mrs. Thornborrow expressed concern about the potential for a traffic accident as increasingly large numbers of vehicles came and went from the site during competitions and the entry was on the brow of a hill with double lines in both directions.
“It’s a tragedy waiting to happen”, she forecast.