Rally Australia routes revealed

BELLINGEN residents will be among the first to learn about the proposed routes for the Rally Australia round of the FIA World Rally Championships in September.

A community information session will be held in the town on Thursday night, the first of seven public forums discussing which shire and forestry roads the rally will traverse.

Rally officials say the meeting is designed to give the community a comprehensive overview of the rally, which will be staged in the Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Clarence Valley and Nambucca Heads areas.

Already local emergency service personnel and representatives from state and federal agencies have been made aware of the rally routes.

Rally Australia general manager Michael Masi said an extensive environmental impact study would ensure the impact on natural attractions was minimised.

“It’s our intention to ensure this major event, showcasing not only the Coffs Coast, but also NSW, is able to go ahead without any legitimate environmental or ecological concerns,” Mr Masi said.

Rally Australia’s community engagement manager, Martin Quinn, will chair the meeting and will make a presentation with maps while conducting a question-and-answer session.

The session at the Uniting Church Hall in Hyde Street from 5.45pm is open to all residents, business operators and members of the community.

Future community information sessions are scheduled for Glenreagh and Coffs Harbour on Saturday, Macksville on March 8, Nambucca Heads on March 9 and Grafton on March 10.

Rally Australia on the Coffs Coast from September 8 to 11 will be round 11 of 13 in the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship.

Information on further meeting venues and times will be posted on www.rallyaustralia.com.au.

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