Greens councillor backs rally

THE World Rally Championships on the Coffs Coast have won support from an unlikely quarter.

Coffs Harbour City Greens councillor Rodney Degens told the Advocate this week he endorsed the event being staged here next year.

“I haven’t made any negative comments about the rally. Even during the council meeting (last week) I was not speaking against the rally – I was commenting on the value of having the general manager (Steve McGrath) on the board of Rally Australia.

“I support the rally but I don’t want to see a rally mired by continual protests against it due to environmental concerns. I want to see the rally go ahead and be fully supported by the community.”

Cr Degens said he had spoken to the rally organisers on Sunday and they confirmed they were still to determine the rally route.

“I’ve not said a single word in the council chamber against it (the rally), nor have I voted against it on any occasion,” Cr Degens said.

“Mark (Graham) has not voted against it either, but he has spoken against it – his reasons for speaking against it are to get an outcome where there is no environmental impact.

“I can see that it’s a money-spinner and there will be benefits economically for the city.

“That’s why I’m interested in seeing it go ahead.”

Greens councillor Mark Graham also said he is not opposed to the World Rally but that he and Cr Degens were concerned about the threat to the values of gazetted conservation areas.

“Avoiding these areas will eliminate any concerns we have with this event,” Cr Graham said.

“The draft maps we have been shown indicate that three routes are proposed in areas dedicated as conservation reserves.

“These are the northern boundary of Dorrigo National Park (Eastern Dorrigo Way), an area with identified World Heritage values; the northern boundary of Sherwood Nature Reserve (Gentle Annie Road); and the Twelve Sixty Flora Reserve west of Glenreagh.”

Cr Graham said input from him and Cr Degens had been ignored by the Homebush Motor Racing Authority and Rally Australia and there had been no change to the proposed routes.

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