This morning, news reports confirmed that the speedway will be leaving Western Springs. In today’s cheat sheet, we explain where it’s going and what’s going to take its place.
Hey, so I hear the speedway is getting kicked out of Western Springs…
Well, kinda. According to my former-colleague and still-neighbour Simon Wilson, the operator of the speedway, Speedway Promotions, has “come to an agreement” with the Auckland Council to move to a new purpose-built motorsport facility at Colin Dale Park near the airport, which will open in November 2020.
Shit. That speedway’s been there forever…
Yeah, 90 years, which is nearly forever.
I’ll miss it though. It really was a great community event, brought some real authenticity to the neighbourhood. Y’know, real New Zealand…
Oh, so you go?
Well… no. But I talk about it every summer.
I bet you do…
So how much time do I have left to, y’know, actually go?
Two more summers, so you’ve got plenty of time to talk about going.
So the speedway people must be bummed.
Yeah, they’ve fought hard to be able to stay where they are, but it’s been an uphill battle for years now. They’ve faced increasing opposition from residents and are currently restricted to 12 events each summer. So this could be a huge opportunity for them. Their new location will have more space for bigger events, more parking, better trailer access, better everything except centrality – and, let’s be honest, do we need small car racing to be near the central city?
I guess not. So what’s going to replace it? Presumably, some combination of medium-to-high density housing integrated into some new greenspace. Seems like that’s what Auckland really needs right now.
Nah, it’s going to be a cricket oval.
What!?! Cricket? Don’t we already have, I don’t know, like heaps of those already? Heard of Eden Park?
Eden Park is apparently too small for international cricket, so…
Hang on. Weren’t there Cricket World Cup games there?
Yeah, they had to get special permission because the boundary is too small.
But didn’t they just rebuild the whole thing for the Rugby World Cup? Wouldn’t they have thought about the size of the pitch at a place that’s been hosting cricket games for over a hundred years?
You’d think so, but no… Anyway, New Zealand Cricket is keen, but Auckland Cricket not so much. I should say that there could be Aussie Rules games at Western Springs. The Ponsonby rugby club would still play there. And there’d still be concerts. It might even be better for concerts.
So what will happen to Eden Park in the summer, when there’s no rugby?
Well, they want to have concerts too, like Adele and Paul McCartney. The big ones. The ones that currently go to Mount Smart.
That makes sense. Why don’t they have concerts already?
The residents don’t want them. Or at least some of them don’t. Too loud and too many people around too many houses and too many schools. Eden Park’s CEO reckons he has the support of 850 local households, but the Eden Park Neighbours’ Association, which represents 450 households, will continue to oppose concerts so…
And isn’t there going to be another new stadium in the city somewhere?
Yeah, probably… the mayor is certainly keen.
So there are a lot of stadiums in Auckland’s future?
Sure are. But a lot of people, so … hey, where are you going?
Sorry, gotta run…
Going to get tickets to the speedway while you can?
Nah, I’m off to make an offer on a couple of properties on Great North Road before the owners hear the news…
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