High hopes for a spring start to turf club project
AFTER several false starts, the long-awaited redevelopment of Ipswich racetrack could be up and racing by September.
The news comes after the QT reported on December 5 the redevelopment appeared to have stalled six years after it was announced.
On August 27, 2008, Ipswich Turf Club flagged a retail and sport development, including replacing the stable and food areas and car park with a commercial-retail precinct and moving the stable area into the centre of the track with access via a tunnel under the racetrack.
The project had some ups and downs but really went nowhere despite other clubs getting redeveloped including the Gold Coast, Townsville and Brisbane.
Following the QT's December 5 story, the turf club was told the good news that the redevelopment would go ahead; the bad news was it would not be for another three years.
Racing Queensland said Ipswich had to wait for Eagle Farm in Brisbane and the Gold Coast to have their redevelopments done first.
But ITC chairman Wayne Patch saw a window of opportunity between after Eagle Farm is back up and running - scheduled for August-September and when Gold Coast's redevelopment starts after the Magic Millions carnival in January.
"Our project is one that can be done in parts. Obviously an integral part to facilitate the entire project is the introduction of a tunnel," Mr Patch said.
"It's the only part of the project that affects our racing program. Everything else is inside or outside the track so there's no drama with that."
This week, Racing Queensland CEO Darren Condon provided some very promising news.
"Racing Queensland's infrastructure department will be meeting with the Ipswich Turf Club on-site this week to assess the feasibility of completing the project in the window proposed by the club and further develop the business case," Mr Condon said.
Mr Patch welcomed the news and was looking forward to a positive outcome from the meeting.
"We'll proactively work with them to see if we can set the stage to get the project started during that window. I'm not in any doubt personally that Racing Queensland has acknowledged the merits of the business case and it's sheerly a matter of timing now."