The BlackRock Motor Park will see Lake Macquarie become home to Australia’s first dedicated recreation resort park for motoring enthusiasts. Now in the commercial approval phase, this $85 million project is a world-leading example of adaptive reuse of mined land and represents significant social and economic benefits for the region. This project will inject more than 450 jobs during construction, and 229 jobs ongoing. When complete, the development will have capacity to operate 360 days a year and accommodate up to 500 people per day.
The impressive facility will include a world-class 5.35km driving circuit, a 100-seat restaurant, a 150-person function space, 37 units for short-term accommodation and another 64 member-dedicated units. Twenty rooms will be part of a private lodge with a gym and swimming pool, and 16 separate cabins are also planned.
The project is due to commence in August 2020 with an estimated 18-24-month construction process.
BlackRock is set to be based in Wakefield, a small tight-knit former-mining community. The project leaders understood the importance of engaging with and understanding the concerns of the community to progress this groundbreaking development project. Such a complex and unique project required careful planning, engagement, collaboration and communication.
Dantia facilitated early engagement with BlackRock, the neighbouring community and local and state government. We drove collaboration and assisted BlackRock to communicate the key economic and social benefits to key stakeholders. This engagement process helped identify and resolve issues and concerns early in the project, and reduced approval times and cost of redesign.
- Undertook economic analysis to determine the key benefits of the project to the city. This data was used to communicate the significant value of the development to the region.
- Facilitated early introductions to strategic planners in Lake Macquarie City Council. This allowed BlackRock to be clear from the early concept-planning phase on the issues the project needed address and to find sustainable social and environmental solutions to address the needs and expectations of all stakeholders. It also provided the opportunity to communicate the value of the project to the region and its alignment with Council’s strategic objectives. Establishing early common ground allowed for collaborative relationships.
- Coordinated presentations to key stakeholders including those in the tourism industry and elected council representatives. This encouraged a shared vision and resulted in authentic interest in the project and its potential success in terms of diversification, adaptive reuse of mining land, job creation and increased visitation to the region.
- Assisted in the development of a community engagement strategy, identifying key community leaders, influences and residents in the local area. This early consultation helped build community engagement and allowed for clear communication of the potential opportunities and challenges the project may have faced.
- Provided letters of support and presented to the Joint Regional Planning Panel to highlight the significance of the project and benefits for the community now and into the future.
- Worked with current landowners to aid in generating confidence in the land sale. We linked the landowners to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to help with transitioning the land use from a mining lease to alternate use that provide employment and community infrastructure.