South Auckland’s new racetrack could spawn the Scott Dixons of the future

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New Zealand motorsport stars like Scott Dixon and Scott McLaughlin both raced go-karts when they were young. Photo / Tina Tiller

A new world-class racing track to be built in South Auckland could see Colin Dale Park become New Zealand’s premier motorsport destination.

Development of the Wiri site has been given the green light, after the Auckland Council’s Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee (PACE) voted last week to rent a section of the park to Colin Dale Kartsport Development Charitable Trust to build a “motorsport” facility.

A decision was also made to change the governance of the park and the financial responsibility for its development from ÅŒtara-Papatoetoe Local Council to the governing body of Auckland Council. This essentially means that all future taxpayer spending for the park will come from the council’s larger long-term plan budget, as opposed to funds allocated by the local council.

From left to right: Councilor Fa'anana Efeso Collins, Local Council President Lotu Fuli and Councilor Alf Filipaina.  Photos / Auckland Council
From left to right: Councilor Fa’anana Efeso Collins, Local Council President Lotu Fuli and Councilor Alf Filipaina. Photos / Auckland Council

PACE committee chair Alf Filipaina said the decision was good for both the local community and Auckland as a whole.

“The local board came to us and said please take over [the park] because it’s too big for us, ”he said.

“We believe this is a destination park with broader regional value and, as it enjoys the support of the local board, we were happy to take over.

“This will ensure that it will be available to our wider motorsport community, whether it be kart racing, jet prints, off-road, dirt bikes or just remote control cars, and there is certainly potential for more. “

A breeding ground for the future Scott Dixons

KartSport Mt Wellington created the Colin Dale Kartsport Development Charitable Trust and its chairman, Brent Robb, said it had been a long and at times “frustrating” process.

“We have been waiting for this for some time. We had to close our premises in Mt Wellington a few years ago and we created the charitable trust to lease a piece of land there,” he says.

“We will be building a new track which will be New Zealand’s only international standard kart racing track. It will be a world class facility with club rooms that will benefit the entire park.”

Go-kart racing is the starting point for many of the world’s best racing car drivers and Robb says having such a facility will ensure New Zealand’s motorsport legacy continues.

“New Zealand is riding the wave of motorsport a bit with Scott Dixon and Scott McLaughlin, and these big names have all raced in karting sports. community, whether through scholarship programs or welcome days for residents. “

The $ 6 million, 1.2 km long Italian-designed track is expected to be completed within five years, and the rest of the facilities within two years, Robb said.

Colin Dale Park in Wiri, south Auckland, borders Auckland International Airport.  Photo / Supplied
Colin Dale Park in Wiri, south Auckland, borders Auckland International Airport. Photo / Supplied

“It will definitely make motorsport stronger in New Zealand. There are a lot of big international meetings in Australia and these events never come to New Zealand because we have never had a track of a good standard. There is also tourism potential to become a destination like Butterfly Creek or Rainbow’s End. “

Money released for local facilities

ÅŒtara-Papatoetoe Local Council President Lotu Fuli said the decision to hand over governance of the park was obvious to her fellow council members. The council was paying $ 280,000 a year to maintain the site, while many other facilities around its area languished due to underinvestment.

“This will free up additional spending in our budget each year for our local reserves, sports fields, and even community facilities, like the old Papatoetoe boardroom, as well as much-needed work on our libraries and swimming pool.”

Fuli says the park’s potential can now be unlocked.

“If they really want to make it an incredible destination for all of New Zealand motorsport, then only the governing body and the CCOs [council-controlled organisations] have the budget to do it. “

A potential location for Western Springs Speedway

And what about a new home for the controversial Western Springs Speedway?

Filipaina says Colin Dale Park might be the answer.

Go-kart racing is the starting point for many of the best racing car drivers in the world.  Photo / Supplied
Go-kart racing is the starting point for many of the best racing car drivers in the world. Photo / Supplied

“It’s a while before a decision is made as their lease doesn’t end until 2024, but it’s definitely an option. We’ve always seen Colin Dale as a space for the whole region, and that could mean speedway. “

In 2018, Auckland Council and the former promoter of Western Springs Speedway signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that Colin Dale Park would become Auckland’s future speedway home. However, since this MOU was signed, a new developer, Robertson Holden International Speedway, has taken over the lease at Western Springs.

Organization chief Bruce Robertson said as far as he is concerned, Western Springs is where the speedway will remain for the foreseeable future.

“At this point, we haven’t had any discussions with council about moving to Colin Dale, so given that, we plan to be in Western Springs for the long term.”

In the absence of a resolution in view of this problem, the public can provide input through the current budget consultation on the long-term plan. One of the key issues we are consulting on is how the board prioritizes its spending on community services and facilities. Manukau Ward Councilor Fa’anana Efeso Collins said public comments regarding this park would be greatly appreciated.

“Colin Dale’s decision is opening this South Auckland park to become the birthplace of motorsport in New Zealand given its size and strategic location. So I encourage people to say if they want us to invest more in this space. “

The Auckland council’s stimulus budget consultation ends on March 22 at noon. akhaveyoursay.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz for more information.

– Local Democracy Reporter


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