THERE were winners and losers in the Newcastle Supercars deal even before a signature was written on the contract for the five year event.
The winners include the harbour city which will be showcased in an event that will be watched by millions. Tourist operators, hotels, restaurants and many Newcastle and Hunter businesses will also benefit from the event in November.
But there are losers, and they’re not just confined to the cars on the track.
East End residents will bear the brunt of the negative side of such a large event on that weekend, and are already dealing with the traffic, parking and basic inconvenience of having a Supercar event outside their front doors.
Noise will be extreme and unrelenting over the weekend of the event, and will clearly be significantly greater than any noise intrusion visited on any other community in the Hunter, albeit for a relatively short period.
But relatively short is relative.
Anything that is extreme enough to force people from their homes cannot be dismissed with an argument that the community will benefit. In a situation where a small number of people are paying for the benefits of the many, it is the responsibility of governments and regulators to ensure as many safeguards as possible are in place.
The noise management plan announced by Supercars chief executive James Warburton identified that 31 homes in the East End could be subject to noise levels louder than accepted guidelines, which in this case are deemed to be 84 decibels over a 10-hour period.
Residents want the NSW Government to release the actual noise report behind the noise management plan, so that independent acoustic engineers can review the data on which the noise management plan recommends mitigation methods.
Acoustic engineer Julian Ellis, working for the East End residents, raised the most important issue in the Supercars debate –what residents had been asking for all along is transparency in the process.
It’s on that point that Supercars and Newcastle City Council need to do more work.
It’s not unreasonable for residents to ask for the report on which matters affecting them are based. While they’re losing a lot so that many can benefit, the least they can expect is transparency, which equates to public honesty by decision makers.