Lord mayoral candidate John Church says he will vote against extending Supercars' contract to race in the historic east end if he is re-elected to Newcastle council.
Lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes and her Labor colleagues support the race but have committed to consulting the community after the March 2022 event before the council decides whether to hold it for another five years.
Greens mayoral candidate John Mackenzie has been a vocal critic of the event being held in Newcastle East, and Liberal candidate Jenny Barrie said she also would vote against it continuing.
The Newcastle 500 attracted thousands of fans in its first three years but remains deeply unpopular with some Newcastle East residents and business owners.
The 2022 race has switched from a year-ending event to a season-opening round from March 4 to 6, three months after the December 4 council elections.
Cr Church, who is the Newcastle Independents' candidate for mayor and ward one, said he was not anti-Supercars but believed the race was in the wrong place.
"I'm a big supporter of events-based tourism. It's good for the economy as long as the benefits flow to the local community," he said.
"As a ward one councillor, my constituents include the east end. I can't support the race as long as it goes through the east end."
He said the race's burden on residents outweighed its wider benefits. He believed the council should find a site for a purpose-built track to host the race and other, year-round activities.
Cr Church said he would like to see an "independent" analysis of the race which included its costs, something omitted when the council commissioned a study of the first Newcastle 500 in 2017.
The matter of whether to extend the Supercars contract looms as a significant issue in the council election, where Cr Nelmes will attempt to see off a challenge from Cr Church and Labor will try to hold on to its absolute majority in the chamber.
If Labor loses its controlling bloc, Greens, independent and Liberal councillors could stop the race.
The issue will be especially influential in ward one, where deputy lord mayor Declan Clausen, Cr Church, Cr Mackenzie and the Liberals' Blake Keating will vie for three councillor seats.
Newcastle's five-year contract with Supercars, which is poised to have new owners, ends after the March race.
Cr Nelmes said major events were a key part of Labor's vision for a "vibrant, global city".
"These events deliver an immediate and ongoing benefit for our community and the economy," she said.
"I'm looking forward to the March event next year."
Ms Barrie said the race "must be in question" as it disrupted residents and "severely impacted" businesses.
"Until we see the factual cost of staging the event with ratepayers' funds versus the disruption to residents and business owners, I would vote against it," she said.
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