The Formula 1 Grand Prix was relocated from Adelaide to Melbourne in 1996 amidst both fanfare and protest. Hailed as a sporting event triumph by the then government, the site chosen was a major city recreational park of state significance, Albert Park, which was subsequently altered substantially to accomodate the racing track which included the clear felling of over 1000 mature trees.
Ten yeas later, inflated attendance figures keep falling as do the economic benefits, but the abuse of the local area by the Australian Grand Prix Corporate keeps increasing.
The official ticket allocation and attendance has fallen by 25%, however independent reports claim that the actual attendances are much lower. The government makes claims of net economic benefit, which are also questionable.
The cost to taxpayers has risen to over $30 million dollars. While the organisers claim that the value of international advertising to Melbourne is something like $100 million, one would question the value of marketing the world's most liveable city to petrolheads and whether it is worth the pain caused to Melburnians.
The disruption to users of the park is massive, and the time taken to assemble and dissassemble the track takes longer each year, forcing local sporting clubs off their grounds.
Now, during our worst ever drought, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation is using our precious lake water to keep the grass green around the track and to wet and prepare the road surfaces. This is just before Stage 4 water restrictions come into place, whilst the rest of the park is dry and trees are dying, television audiences will see only pristine green grass in the immediate track areas. Inside the park, areas where grass once grew and is now dirt and dust due to the drought has been covered in many tonnes of woodchips for the convenience of spectators, which would seem like a massive waste of trees. The Grand Prix corporation injects little into the massive maintenance costs of the park, of which it contributes significant wear and tear and this is an indirect cost to taxpayers via Parks Victoria.
Furthermore, noise pollution over the Grand Prix weekend directly affects over 1 million people in the inner metro area.
It is time to return Albert Park back to the public and put an end to this abuse of one of our greatest cultural, recreational and sporting icons. We want to make a statemtnet against the government sacrificing parkland for commercial enterprise.
We, the undersigned, call on the Victorian Government to relocate the Australian Grand Prix from Albert Park.
The End the Grand Prix at Albert Park petition to Victorian Government was written by Chocky and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.