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Gentlemen, start your engines! - (L-R) Stuart Hocking and Steve Grinstead with their cars showing support for a motoring complex/hub at the defunct CFA training college at Fiskville. Photo – Helen Tatchell
Gentlemen, start your engines! - (L-R) Stuart Hocking and Steve Grinstead with their cars showing support for a motoring complex/hub at the defunct CFA training college at Fiskville. Photo – Helen Tatchell

By Kate Taylor

There’s new drive behind the quest to have a motorsport complex built at the now-abandoned Fiskville CFA training academy.

Members of the Ballarat Light Car Club met with Moorabool Mayor Paul Tatchell last week at the site, to discuss the push for the complex to be located there.

The campaign continues this week, with further on-site discussions set to take place early in the week, and a future march on parliament already being floated as an idea if required.

The City of Ballarat got things moving back in 2011 by flagging its interest in building a multi-discipline motorsport complex in the Western region, progressing to a feasibility study which, late last year, short-listed Fiskville as one of the sites that should be considered for the project.

The Ballarat Light Car Club is on a month-by-month lease at its current site at Ballarat West, and is at least one of the area’s car clubs looking for a new home

Stuart Hocking, a member of the Ballarat Light Car Club, said Fiskville would be a perfect site as it is readily accessible from Melbourne, Ballarat, and Geelong.

“I remembered reading and hearing about the closure of the Fiskville site and, having driven past Ballan on a daily basis for work, had often thought Ballan would be an ideal location that would service many surrounding towns,” Mr Hocking told the Moorabool News.

“So I created the Facebook group called #Make Fiskville @ Ballan Victoria’s new motorsport circuit, to gauge interest.”

Interest is large and continues to grow – but some members have already raised concerns about the toxicity of Fiskville.

In joining the push for the Fiskville site, Mr Hocking contacted fellow advocate, Moorabool Mayor Cr. Paul Tatchell.

“I had found out that Cr. Tatchell had raised a similar idea for the use of the site a while back, after its initial closure. It would have been around the time where there was still some uncertainty as to the clean-up process, cost and timeframe.
“So it was a waiting game, I guess, to see what would take place and when.”

The clean-up has commenced and it due to be completed by 2020.

“Now that the clean-up has started, I think if Fiskville gets a future use in place it would help the site shrug off its toxic tag. Then it can get back to being a place that the greater community can thrive off once again, as it deservedly should considering the infrastructure that remains.

Mr Hocking said the list could also include, along with motor racing, car, bus and truck driver education programs, go-karts, BMX, mountain bikes, and motorbikes, with the feasibility study noting that the facility would bring about $300 million per year into the local economy.

“Having competed at a few different motorsport venues over the years I’ve seen the huge demand for circuits such as Winton and Sandown with these places booked out on a daily basis for a variety of purposes. With the potential closure of Sandown in the near future due to urban sprawl, I believe it is time to act on making sure there’s a facility to fill the void and also provide the place in our area that locals have been longing for.”