Warwick driver Peter Robinson will contest the Queensland Super Sprints.
Warwick driver Peter Robinson will contest the Queensland Super Sprints. Contributed

Morgan Park a true asset

MORGAN PARK encompasses six sporting facilities, houses $17million worth of infrastructure and provides the Southern Downs community with $5.8million a year.

The figures are a result of a study by the council economic development team with the Morgan Park sporting clubs and the State Government.

Southern Downs Regional Council economic development officer Nick Edols said it was the first time all the Morgan Park sporting clubs had had individual interviews with an economist.

The various sporting clubs run from Morgan Park rely heavily on volunteers and the study valued their contribution to equal $1.5million a year.

This figure was calculated by assuming the volunteers would be earning $20 an hour for their many hours of work.

"This is an amazing contribution to the community and economy of the Southern Downs," Mr Edols said.

The report stated the $5.8million economic benefit was based on the 2011 calendar and acknowledged that not all of the impacts from Morgan Park were included.

However, the study did focus on the money competitors and spectators spent on accommodation, food and beverages.

While the region's business owners were not aware of the exact figure of the economic benefit, Warwick Golden Harvest Motel owner John Bell said he was fully aware of the benefit the facility provided to the Southern Downs.

"It is great what it does for business," Mr Bell said.

The event held at Morgan Park Raceway at the weekend, with more than 190 competitors, saw Mr Bell's and many other hotels packed to the rafters.

"We were fully booked out," Mr Bell said.

"What rooms were not taken up by competitors were filled by spectators.

"Morgan Park is one of the greatest things in Warwick.

"It is just outstanding," he said.

One benefit the study was not able to cover was the boost provided by those people moving to Warwick in order to be closer to Morgan Park.

Landmark Harcourts real estate agent Yve Stocks has kept an eye on this trend, since moving here herself to be closer to the race track.

Ms Stocks estimates that at least 200 people have moved to Warwick because of Morgan Park.

One such person is Peter Robinson, who made the move 10 years ago.

"I lived in North Queensland for 33 years and after a while the temperature gets to you and you can never get cool," Mr Robinson said.

"I built a car for the Targa Tasmania Rally.

"On the way back from the rally I entered in the Leyburn Sprints and a friend of mine said I should go down and have a look at Morgan Park.

"I had a look and three years later I made the move south to the cooler climate.

"I became involved with the Warwick and District Sport Car Club as a volunteer and official."

Mr Robinson said he was amazed by how much the club had grown over the years.

"The growth in the past 10-15 years is astronomical.

"We now have between 30 to 35 meetings a year," Mr Robinson said.

Club members from the various sporting groups at Morgan Park have dubbed the economic assessment very useful.

Warwick Drag Racing Club committee members Chris and John Loy said the assessment would be helpful when applying for grant applications.

Warwick District and Sporting Car Club president Bill Campbell said it would serve as a good basis for further work in future years.

Council chief executive Andrew Roach said the success of Morgan Park had made the Southern Downs the envy of many regional centres.

"It's a terrific asset and drawcard to have and the signs are there that the Morgan Park Sporting Clubs will continue to grow and add a good deal of value to the community and economy of the Southern Downs," he said.

 

The figures

  • Voluntary contributed: $1.5million
  • Infrastructure value: $17 million
  • Total economic benefit: $5.8million


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