When asked the age-old question of whether I am a cat person or a dog person, without any hesitation, I pounce on ‘cat’.
Cats are evil. Winston Churchill once said they are the only animal that truly looks down on people.
Conversely, I know that dogs look up to people, are loyal, and can bring you your paper in the morning. Certainly, Mr Smiggle, the human resources representative here at the Region Media office, is a dog and he is an adorable little thing.
When I’m not tripping over him.
But dogs make noise. They whine, they bark, they yelp and they growl. More often than not, this is plain annoying.
Do I therefore think all dogs should be shot? No, I do not.
Similarly, I find it incredibly annoying when cyclists choose to ignore the cycle path that was expressly built for them, and clog the road with their gyrating buttocks. And I say this as someone who was once a cyclist with a gyrating buttocks (until the moment I got a car).
Pedal Power ACT is always lobbying for harsher penalties for motorists who get a little too touchy-feely with cyclists on our roads. Maybe that’s fair enough.
After all, do I think we should run cyclists off the roads just because they’re annoying? No, I do not. They have a right to do what they are doing and enjoy doing it safely.
Where am I going with this? I’m going to Wakefield Park Raceway, near Goulburn.
For years, the managers of the 2.2km racing circuit have been trying to get a new development approved through Goulburn Mulwaree Council, and at seemingly every turn, have been curtailed by noise complaints. The scuffle between the two has reached such a crescendo it’s currently being sorted out in the Land and Environment Court of NSW.
Wakefield Park Raceway opened in 1994 and sits in the sweet spot between Sydney and Canberra, attracting national motorsport events, driver training sessions, and track days – plus a considerable amount of tourism dollars – to the region every year.
It’s high time the facilities were treated to a refresh.
That’s the first thing – the track has been there longer than most of its neighbours.
The rule is simple: don’t buy a house near an airport if you don’t like aeroplanes. The same principle applies here.
Another thing is that I have been to Wakefield Park Raceway and it is literally in the middle of a paddock. Goulburn is still a 10-minute drive away so put the picture of a racetrack encircled by suburban houses, shops and office buildings out of your head.
No-one’s mug of coffee is being rattled every time a car goes past.
In my time at the track day, I took up a position on the sidelines to watch a McLaren and Porsche do battle on the circuit, and it has to be said that as they flew down past the pit lane, the noise was deafening.
But once they made it around to the distant side, I could have even heard one of my wife’s infernal bobby pins drop. A magpie lark called to its mate. A fellow spectator gently cleared his throat.
But somehow, despite all this, the struggle is such that now Wakefield Park Raceway is considering packing up the whole show. And here’s the bittersweet news: it might be coming to Canberra.
I have no doubt that if and when it does eventuate here, noise complaints will follow.
Certainly, a word with the people from ACT Speedway in Pialligo reveals that hardly an event can go by without at least one letter of complaint coming across their desk the following morning.
So to those warriors about to take to their keyboards, I just want to head this off now: stop shooting the dogs.