Supercars chief executive James Warburton with Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes at Fort Scratchley last week. PICTURE: Marina NeilLESS than 20 per cent of Novocastrians want the Supercars race in November to run down Shortland Esplanade, polling by the city council has found.
In a result that will serve as another blow to the council’s already doomed push for the race to avoid the city’s East End, polling found most residents do not support the idea of changing the track.
Instead, a poll of 697 residents in the Newcastle local government area found 60 per cent of those polled supported the current track, while 22 per cent don’t mind either idea.
Only 17 per cent supported the alternative track.
The polling was conducted byReachTELon behalf of Newcastle City Councilas part of its last-minute push to force the governmentto consider changing theroute.
Residents were asked: would you prefer the track to stay in its current location, change to the alternative route along Shortland Esplanade or do you think either track is fine?
The council, through the Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, has become increasingly frustrated with the direction of the race and the perceived lack of on the ground consultation being carried out by the state’s tourism body Destination NSW.
As opposition to the race from East End residents has increasedthe council had pushed for Destination NSW and Supercars to considertakingthe more visually spectacular–but alsosignificantlymoreexpensive–route past Newcastle Baths.
Cr Nelmes said she was “pleased the consultation that should have taken place has now taken place”.
“When Destination NSW made the [Supercars] announcement last year part of that was they would talk to thecommunity and that had not happened and that’s why we were in that position,” she said.
“At the end of the day a lot of thecommunity’sconcerns weren’t being addressed.”
The polling was part of its push the government into action. But the proposal to change the race was quickly ruled out by Supercars chief executive James Warburton who said it was too lateto consider alternative options.
The poll results will be noted at Tuesday’s Newcastle City Council meeting.