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New Zealand

Western Springs Speedway saved - for now

Newshub logoNewshub 14/03/2019 Mitch McCann
a view of a city: Auckland Council's Western Springs Speedway decision prompted fury. © Image - Google Maps; Video - Newshub. Auckland Council's Western Springs Speedway decision prompted fury.

Speedway events will continue at Western Springs for the foreseeable future, with a deal struck between organisers and Auckland Council.

The new deal will see Speedway's lease extended for 12 months, after Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) originally decided not to extend it, leaving the sport on uncertain ground.

The new agreement is designed to give Speedway a venue until the council can actually secure the funding needed to move it to Colin Dale Park in Wiri, south Auckland.

Speedway organiser Bill Buckley says the decision was about timing.

"Speedway's view is that the proposed alternative venue of Colin Dale Park would be suitable, but we cannot move from Western Springs until it is ready, and Council has not yet approved the necessary funding to upgrade it."

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Today's decision followed widespread backlash over the news RFA had decided not to extend the lease of the venue to the sport, as it wanted to progress with plans to turn the venue into a cricket area.

Regional Facilities Chair Andrew Barnes was quick to express his frustrations at the Council on Friday morning, despite reaching middle-ground with Speedway.

"We have succeeded in resolving the matter for now so Speedway can continue uninterrupted in the short term, but some critical and urgent decisions have to be made by Auckland Council so we do not find ourselves in this situation ever again."

The frustration at RFA was clear when Buckley spoke to Newshub last week. There had been public speculation the opposing sides had stopped negotiating a deal, and had fallen out.

"Do they ever take their kid to Speedway? Do they ever contemplate racing there? No, the pricks don't have enough balls to try," he said at the time.

Just last June it appeared a deal had been reached for the long-term future of the sport to be at Colin Dale Park in Wiri, south Auckland.

At the time, Mr Goff celebrated the decision.

"There is a new home and a new heart for Speedway in Auckland. Not for the next five or 10 years, but into the long-term future," he said last June.

But that deal was actually a memorandum of understanding with no guarantees.

Speedway's future still comes down to a council vote in April. That could see funding approved for the sport to move, or it could see funding rejected, leaving Speedway homeless.

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