'Sensible solution' sought
Timaru Mayor Damon Odey wants to see Targa New Zealand rally competitors do a lap of the Levels raceway.
A restrictive resource consent meant it was unlikely to happen but Odey is keen to meet South Canterbury Car Club president Kevin Pateman to see if a simple, sensible solution can be found.
The club's consent does not allow "competition cars" on the Timaru International Motor Raceway midweek, which means Targa competitors cannot do a lap, because they pass through Timaru on a Tuesday.
Targa event director Peter Martin said the rally was "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the bulk of our competitors and as such we were hoping to incorporate stages at all four tracks in the South Island.
"Right now Levels is the only one we can't do that at."
Odey said he hoped a compromise could be found.
"As a district we have some international sporting venues in our backyard and we should be using them to their potential, including the Levels track."
"In the future it could be a case of use it or lose it."
Pateman said he was happy to meet Odey to discuss the matter.
"It is good to see some real enthusiasm in the council."
The club had been hesitant to raise the matter as last time they went for a simple day change it cost $7000 in legal and resource consent fees.
Because Targa was not their event and they were a small club relying on volunteers, Pateman said it would be time-consuming.
"We are focusing on our V8 SuperTourers meeting, which we have just been given for March, but if Damon is willing to help Targa out that is great, we will work with him."
Pateman believed Timaru would be in a really positive light if the decision was reversed.
Odey said he hoped there could also be some accommodation when it came to consent fees.
"We want Timaru to be seen as a vibrant, welcoming place.
"These events are massive in the contribution they make to the local economy."
The mayor said he was more than happy to talk to any nearby residents who had concerns over the circuit being used on a Tuesday morning.
The rally will come to the South Island for the first time with 100 cars entered and 750 people involved in the event, travelling from Christchurch to Invercargill.
During the six-day event, one of the highlights for competitors was to have been a circuit of each of the South Island's four race tracks at Ruapuna, Levels, Highland Park and Teretonga.
Competitors stop in Timaru on leg one, on October 28.
- The Timaru Herald