City racing industry dying slowly

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

THE Gladstone Turf Club is haemorrhaging and could die before a solution to its problems is found.

This is the view of Gladstone City Councillor and local racing enthusiast Chris Trevor who has been rallying to save the embattled organisation.

Cr Trevor has been trying to find support to put together a feasibility study on the Turf Club, including the possibility of moving the track.

He has asked Queensland Racing to seek the $30,000 to $50,000 for the study.

However he is becoming increasingly frustrated, with the process requiring several government departments and Queensland Racing to agree on a solution.

'I'm terribly frustrated over the process,' Cr Trevor said.

'The Turf Club is bleeding and I can't bandage the wound because no one will give me the medical supplies.

'If the government doesn't treat this as important the race course will be lost forever. It's just another kick in the guts for Gladstone.'

A meeting with Racing Minister Robert Schwarten was cancelled earlier in the year because the input of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was needed as it owns the land the Turf Club is situated on.

'I call it the spider legs because there are so many departments involved and all those legs need to line up for a solution to be found,' Cr Trevor said.

Cr Trevor is expected to meet with the Minister for DNR and Minister for Racing Robert Schwarten in the coming months to discuss the issue with them.

Gladstone Turf Club president Mike Ironmonger yesterday expressed his frustration at the direction being adopted by Queensland Racing in centralising racing, hence taking it away from regional areas like Gladstone.

Mr Ironmonger said most of the locals have left the game, leaving only 10 horses in the 72 stalls at the Gladstone track.

'Queensland Racing expects people to travel, but they just can't afford it so they are leaving the industry,' Mr Ironmonger said.

Mr Ironmonger said 262 people attended the most recent local race meeting in April.



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