Cardinia Shire Council documents reveal the latest planning stage for the proposed Cardinia Motor Recreation and Education Park has been approved without objection by the council, meaning a new racetrack near Pakenham west of Melbourne could be up and running in the near(ish) future.
In a council meeting earlier this week, the main questions noted in the minutes relate to noise levels and environmental impacts. While both are legitimate concerns, the plans appear to hold both in close consideration.
The minutes quote one unnamed questioner:
“Could you please confirm in writing, that this insidious major Motor Sports Complex known as the innocuous Cardinia Motor Recreation and Education Park will have no adverse impact on the environment or affect the amenity of local residents?”
“Council assesses all applications within the requirements of the planning scheme including amenity and environmental considerations to minimise any adverse impacts. The conditions of this permit are designed to achieve this.”
While the initial development proposal was approved in December 2019, there are now further details and development proceedings which have been given the green light.
The planning document seen by MOTOR backs this up, with pages of plans and references to minimising both the impact on native vegetation and the noise that will inevitable be audible from the Pakenham residential streets just over 1km away.
It seems then, that the Cardinia Council is well behind the project, and the final major hurdle of the track will be managing funds. It's expected the project will cost more than $200 million, with private funding behind the development.
Further details of the intended design of the complex are laid out in the documents, including mention of a large, modern pitlane building, “clad with Corten steel, aluminium wall panels, a concrete and aluminium roof, glass balustrade and electric roller shutter doors.
“Steel staircases will feature as main access points between floors, with the exception of a lift for access to race control.”
The track itself (designed by renowned track design firm Apex) is to be a 3.6km circuit, with FIA Grade 2 approval, “the ability to be split into two smaller configurations, averaging 1.8km in length each, which can be operated independently of each other.
“This would allow driver experiences or club events to operate independent of other events occurring on the track. The northern straight of the track will be integrated with the pit facilities.”
Initial plans included a drag strip, but Apex has since clarified that there isn't enough space for the strip and all its necessary safety additions.
Expected to be operational within two years, the Cardinia Motor Recreation and Education Park could play a large part in Melbourne’s motorsport future, with Sandown under constant scrutiny for noise complaints.