Speedway granted lease extension to stay at Western Springs
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Speedway is understood to have been granted an extension to stay at Auckland's Western Springs after council bosses struck a last-minute deal with promoter Bill Buckley today.
Details of the agreement, including the length of the extension, are not known. The parties are expected to issue a statement tomorrow.
The extension follows a meeting between Auckland Council, Regional Facilities Auckland(RFA) and speedway promoter Bill Buckley at his Mt Wellington engineering business this morning.
A Grand Final Night is planned for Saturday to celebrate 90 years of racing history at "Auckland's Home of Speedway", including a kids' dance competition and fireworks.
Speedway's Western Springs lease finishes at the end of this season, creating a lot of uncertainty about where they will race next year.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff issued a brief statement to the Herald.
"I've made it very clear that I want a home found for Speedway and that everyone needs to take a deep breath and think realistically about the most sensible option for speedway's future in our city.
"We're committed to working towards a solution that will work for speedway, its fans and local residents," the statement said.
Buckley and RFA declined to comment.
Yesterday, the Auckland Stock and Saloon Club offered its facilities at Waikaraka Park to speedway. President Frank Irvine said the club was keen to be part of talks about the long-term solution to speedway in Auckland.
An online petition to keep speedway at Western Springs indefinitely or until a suitable replacement is developed has attracted more than 30,000 signatures.
In recent weeks, relations between Buckley, council and RFA have been strained.
Buckley, who has spent more than $5 million of his own money running speedway at Western Springs since 2002, has called council chief executive Stephen Town the "lowest of the low" in a dispute over money, and plans to move speedway.
RFA chairman Andrew Barnes has accused Buckley of blaming everyone else, saying it is his business and not the job of RFA to plan for the long-term future of a commercial enterprise.
- NZ Herald