AN East End business owner has vowed to organise a protest against the Newcastle 500 after Supercars confirmed the race would return with a new date in 2022.
While City of Newcastle has welcomed Supercars' announcement of the event's return as a season opener after no race in 2020 or 2021, some have criticised the new time-slot - understood to be early March.
The council said on Thursday there would be no road closures before February, 2022, and the city had stipulated a shortened timeframe for the post-race pack-up.
City of Newcastle could not be specific about the shorter timeframe on Thursday but a spokesperson said the arrangements would be reviewed in the six months before the event, and that the council would work with Supercars and Destination NSW to "capitalise on opportunities where this can be reduced" in consultation with residents and business owners.
But Estabar owner Bec Bowie said it was "heart-wrenching, infuriating and bewildering" to learn of the event's return.
She said she would organise a protest to show City of Newcastle the level of opposition in the east end.
Ms Bowie said her business - located track-side, opposite Newcastle beach - was one of the few that could essentially transform into a "corporate box" and earn "a good return" from race weekend.
"In no way does that compensate for the trashing of our streets and our community lifestyle over the whole setup, set-down time," she said.
"This is our beach and our summer and Newcastle city and its beaches should be totally open and available to our community and the visitors that come to Newcastle."
Raul Cabrera, who owns Bocados Spanish Kitchen on the edge of the street circuit, said the disruption of the set-up and dismantling would be "enormous" at the beginning of the year.
"I only see a lot of stress brought on by this event, which upsets a lot of good people doing the right thing by the city," he said.
"For us personally, there is better trade without the cars. The disruption is around six to eight weeks. Usually, we have a bustling fanfare of locals, tourists, out-of-towners from November to around the end of March."
But not all business owners share that view.
Corey Crooks, who owns the Grain Store craft beer cafe in the east end, said it was disappointing the race would not take place in 2021, but he was looking forward to the new date in 2022.
"It's good for us, but we also embrace it and become part of it," he said.
"Moving forward I think it's a much better time for the city to get some benefit out it - being in the first quarter rather than jammed in around the holiday season."
Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said moving the race to March would "diversify our major events calendar" - bringing visitors to town earlier in the year and "freeing up the CBD during the busy Christmas shopping period".
"The return of the Newcastle 500 cements our city's reputation as a destination known for hosting major Australian and international events," she said.
"No city anywhere in Australia offers what Newcastle does in terms of providing stunning aerial pictures of some of Australia's most beautiful beaches. The Newcastle 500 street circuit traces both the city's coastline as well as its working harbour."
Christine Everingham - an opponent of the race who last year co-authored a book about Supercars - said Newcastle was left "holding the baby" after the South Australian government announced in November it would no longer host the Adelaide 500.
She said a March race meant set-up would happen in "prime beach season for businesses" who would suffer "incredible disruption".
"Most of our businesses do not do good by this event," she said.
City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath said council's five-year agreement would end in 2021, but the deal was varied so Newcastle could host in 2022.
He said longer-term arrangements would be finalised in mid-2022.
Mr Bath said Supercars would provide a locally-based community engagement manager for the event.
Supercars announced on Thursday morning that Newcastle would host its 2022 season opener - a shift from being the location of the year's final race in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
The event was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the organisation opted not to bring the race back for 2021.
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