By Cam Lucadou-Wells
A Hallam go karting track proponent has hit back at “alarmist” objections by Casey ex-mayor Rob Wilson.
Drive Go Karting managing director Chris Field said Mr Wilson’s submission was the only formal objection after the $2.1 million project for 94 Centre Road Hallam was advertised to neighbouring residents.
Otherwise, the plan had “overwhelming” support from locals, he said.
Mr Field said Mr Wilson’s concerns about the overhead high-voltage powerlines, lighting, wetlands and water runoff, and noise were “unfounded”.
“(Mr Wilson) never contacted Drive Go Karting for any information prior to his ill-informed and alarmist comments to the Star Journal, and if he’d taken the time to speak with us he would have saved himself some embarrassment.”
The ex-mayor’s health concerns about high-tension power lines were “alarmist and unscientific”, Mr Field said.
“For nearly 70 years people have lived and worked in close proximity to them all over the world, including within Casey City where there are houses just 20 meters away from them, and all with no scientific evidence of harm.
“If high tension power lines were as harmful as Wilson seems to believe, there would already be a public health crisis as a result. Where is it?”
Mr Field said the reconfigurable track offering 24 different circuits for up to 30 electric go karts was an “excellent use of land that would otherwise have very little use or utility to the community”.
Its plan complied with all requirements from stakeholders such as VicTrack, DELWP, water authorities and SP Ausnet, he said.
“Prior to us proposing to use this land for our track, it was going to be used as truck parking and hard-stand, a worse outcome for the community by any measure.”
In response to Mr Wilson’s other points, Mr Field said there was “plenty of clearance” under the power lines for the safe installation of short lighting towers.
The go-kart developers had also built large on-site lakes to absorb runoff from the floodplains site, and provided new habitat for the endangered dwarf galaxias fish.
Noise would be sufficiently dampened by acoustic fences up to 4.5 metres high, Mr Field said.
“We call on Mr Wilson to cease his wild public speculation and contact us directly with any further concerns or queries.”
Mr Wilson had based his objection on the “unknown consequences” of electromagnetic radiation to track employees under the power lines.
“It’s just the principle of having activities under powerlines should be respected. There should not be dwellings and other stuff under them.
“It could leave the council open to a lawsuit.
“I hope it won’t be conned by the promise of 36 jobs.”