CORNER Inlet Motorcycle Club Inc. (CIMCC) is set to call Yanakie home for another decade, with South Gippsland Shire Council giving the green light to negotiations on a new lease on the land at 2746 Meeniyan Promontory Road.
At their meeting last Wednesday, shire councillors gave unanimous support to a motion to allow negotiations to kick off, much to the relief of club members, who have been on tenterhooks while waiting for a decision.
“It has been a long time, with lots of hard work,” said club secretary Peter Bohn, thrilled with the news from council.
He acknowledged that not everyone would be pleased with the decision to renew the lease, but asserted, “This will be good for the club and good for the community.”
A total of 44 submissions, including five against the proposal, were received earlier this year when Council advertised its intention to enter into a new lease with the motorcycle club. In addition, a petition carrying 700 signatures was resubmitted by CIMCC to strengthen support for a new lease (the petition was first submitted in November 2011). Council appointed a special Committee of Council to hear submissions, and four submitters requested to be heard. Their main concerns were noise, dust and excessive use of the track by the club.
In an attempt to address the concerns, the new lease will include a number of obligations on the CIMCC. The draft lease shows that they include mention of “guidelines established by Motorcycle Victoria regarding noise monitoring and the club’s responsibilities to obtain noise monitoring equipment and training of stewards to conduct the monitoring of bikes on the track”.
The club, said Peter Bohn, has long been affiliated with Motorcycling Victoria and Motorcycling Australia. Furthermore, he and another club member have undertaken training in noise monitoring with Motorcycling Australia and have the equipment and the know-how to check bikes. “We ensure that riders keep the noise of their bikes down and that their bikes are well maintained so that they don’t make excess noise. It is all very controlled and under the Motorcycling Australia banner,” he said.
The draft lease also includes:
- An obligation on CIMCC that Motorcycle Victoria inspect the track annually, and for CIMCC and Council to receive a report on any issues that require rectification before renewing any registration with motorcycling affiliations;
- An obligation on the CIMCC to keep a log book to record noise, dust and weather conditions, each time the track is used;
- An obligation on CIMCC to manage vegetation on the leased area in accordance with a vegetation management plan previously prepared by its consultant;
- An obligation on CIMCC to adhere to a calendar of use of the track.
The current 10-year lease for the use of the site, which is off the Prom Road, just southeast of Soldiers Road, as a motorcycle track, was entered into in 2004 and expired this week. The history of the site as a motorcycle track dates back much further than 2004, however.
The site was a gravel quarry until the early 1970s, when it became a spoil and unofficial waste dump until CIMCC (then known as Corner Inlet Light Car and Motor Cycle Club) gained permission from Council to use it for a trial in 1975. Soon after, and in gratitude to the CIMCC for assistance given in a local search and rescue operation, the council offered the site to CIMCC as a place to run club activities. The original track was then constructed. In 1983, using funds raised through club activities and a council grant, the track was expanded. Further track improvements, fencing and toilets were constructed with assistance from shire grants. Track and facility improvements and upgrades have continued over the years.
The club currently has more than 30 single memberships and around 75 family memberships – which takes total membership to over 150.
Club practice days are held monthly from February to December. The club also holds junior training days and hosts a round of the Classics and of the Gippsland Motocross series. The track is in use about 16 days each year – but not in the peak summer holiday period from late December through January.
After considering the submissions for and against negotiating a new lease for the club, shire officers concluded that a lease would provide certainty for the CIMCC to commence improvements at the site to accommodate the growing membership. The recommendation to Council was that a new lease should be drawn up.
Putting forward the motion to begin negotiations over a new lease, Cr Mohya Davies declared the club was very active and successful and provided “a wonderful activity for families”. A new ten-year lease, she asserted, would give the club some ongoing certainty.
Cr Jeanette Harding declared: “I’m a great supporter. I know many young people have learnt to ride safely at the club track rather than on the road and I congratulate the parents who keep the club going.” She went on to acknowledge the donations the club has made to local medical facilities.
Cr Kieran Kennedy said that there had been a lot more opposition to the club and its Yanakie location ten years ago, when the current lease was under negotiation. In the years since, he said, the club had worked successfully to improve its standing in the community. Now it is generally recognised that club events bring visitors to South Gippsland, and there are flow-on effects for the local economy.
Peter Bohn said that while he welcomes the decision to go ahead with a new lease, he acknowledges there is still a lot of work to be done to draw up the lease to everyone’s satisfaction.
A provision in the old lease allows CIMCC to remain in occupancy of the premises in the interim. The next club day is due to be held on September 14.