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Speedway fans ready to explode over fireworks ban

1 November 2017 10:52 PM
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A last-minute refusal by Auckland Council to allow fireworks at Vodafone Springs Speedway on Guy Fawkes night has left the promoter seething and will disappoint thousands of families.

The traditional Speedway season-opener this Saturday is a popular early summer community event.

But now the council's Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA), has reneged on a written approval, sent a week ago, that fireworks planning for the event met all requirements - another example, says promoter Greg Mosen, of the council's campaign to force the speedway from the venue and out of the city.

Speedway promoter Greg Mosen told Radio Sport they've sold over a thousand tickets to the event which has taken four months to plan.

"So we've done everything we possibly can and here we are 48 hours out and they've reinstated the height restriction which puts pay to the whole thing. It's finished.

"There are over 1000 pre-sold tickets to the event and we are expecting a crowd of around 10,000 people because it is a combination of both speedway and fireworks so it is a great night out at the price."

Auckland Council announced earlier this week it would not be funding any Guy Fawkes displays this year.

"The frustration is that we are now going to spend 48 hours trying to unravel what we've spent the last four months putting together.

The use of fireworks at events has to meet noise, duration and height limits. The planned fireworks display complied with the restrictions, but yesterday RFA told the contractor the height restriction at which the pyrotechnics explode, was now lowered to 25m, which meant the planned display no longer met the criteria.

The RFA was concerned about the animals at the nearby Auckland Zoo but Mosen has conducted his own expert research to show a ceiling height of 30m would have no impact on the animals.

"We have taken the time to actually accurately estimate what the ceiling heights would be to ensure these animals don't see these displays," Mosen explained. "That ceiling height is 67.5m. Our pyro display would not exceed 42m [exploding at 30m but visible higher than that] and that is only occasionally.

"It will have zero impact on the zoo - in fact it is less than what we did last year.

"The AC/DC concert had 60 of them in their display so if this is good enough for us it better be good enough for everybody.

"The reason they were allowed to do that is the RFA were forced into a corner by the promoter of the AC/DC concert. The tour that had toured the world is the same regardless of where you go to watch it and part of that was a pyro display. The RFA said ... they felt there would be an international incident if they did not allow the pyro would happen.

"Unfortunately the RFA seem to have rules for some and rules for others and one can only assume that the reason they are doing this is to put more pressure on speedway in and around that Western Springs venue."

Mosen believes the RFA is trying to push speedway out of the Western Springs venue it has called home since 1929.

The RFA has made it clear it would like speedway to move from the inner-city suburb under numerous plans to tweak the city's major sporting facilities. The latest push was to have limited-overs cricket and concerts at Western Springs and moving the speedway to the outskirts of the city.

"The director of the zoo is of equal standing to the director of the RFA - they both sit on the board of Auckland Council and they are in cahoots together, these two, to put paid to our business model," Mosen said.

"It is totally unjustified. There is nothing that they are saying that makes sense.

"On top of that we were told if we did what we did last year we would be okay. We have that in writing from the RFA and now they are telling us that is not okay and telling us two days out from when the show is about to go live."

Regional Facilities Auckland has not responded to calls from the Herald.


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