The time could be serendipitous for Moorabool Shire and its proposed plans to set up a motorsports facility at the abandoned Fiskville facility.
What we know is the combined facility, properly cleaned up and constructed, could prove attractive to a wide range of motor sports and their attendant fan bases. This could prove a valuable injection of activity and economics into a struggling shire whose deteriorating road networks and growth infrastructure struggles could always do with more business.
We also know that motorsports facilities are problematic with risks of noise and air pollution and this means they are deeply mistrusted by anybody who lives in close proximity. Facilities like Sandown and the Calder raceway both have a limited lifespan as Melbourne grows and residential suburbs abut what once were distant empty paddocks. Even small scale tracks like Redline know the pressure as housing developments occur at what once might have been an isolated spot.
For isolation Fiskville does have some advantages, being largely surrounded by farmland but it is not so isolated as to be a difficult access for sports fans coming up the Western freeway. The 12 kilometres to Ballan on a major road makes it equally attractive to Ballarat rev-heads or any body from further afield. Fiskville also has the advantage of room; a massive 164 hectares of government owned land. Sandown is currently about 112 hectares.
Ballarat Council has shown considerable interest in a motorsports facility but does have considerable restrictions on available land. If you think about the decade-long difficulty Ballarat had relocating its saleyards, and they are only 41 hectares, it gives you some indication of kind of large tracts of land needed and the planning hurdles that must be encountered to create suitable buffer zones. Similarly car events at the 60 hectares of the Ballarat airport are no longer suitable when the council has a far more important project proposed centred around the emergency services hub.
Naturally the whole idea is contingent on the successful clean up of the site, a project being under taken by the government with a second stage under review by Environment Protection Authority. Then there is the difficult work of ensuring it is fit for purpose before then attracting investors.
A long road ahead but not the most unlikely idea.