Racing Queensland is adding the final touches to a development application which is due to be submitted to Brisbane City Council by the end of the week.
The document relates to their proposal to turn the current Deagon Racecourse training facility into a state of the art metropolitan greyhound and harness racing venue.
Chairman of Racing Queensland Bob Bentley says that plans are all but finalised for the $39.9 million dollar project and assuming the required approvals are given work will begin in April of next year.
“Deagon will answer the industry’s call for a metropolitan standard facility for greyhound and harness codes by delivering modern racing and training facilities for both codes,” Bentley said.
“The majority of harness racing people want a new 1400 metre track and some people conveniently forget that the greyhounds, who had a 50 percent stake in Albion Park, also want out of Albion Park if a better alternative is available.
“Deagon will be converted to a modern dual purpose facility for greyhound and harness racing. There will be a 1400 metre harness track and two greyhound tracks; a one turn and two turn greyhound track.
“The greyhound and harness public amenity would consist of a back-to-back structure so that the greyhound racing tracks are not located inside of the harness racing track, as is the case at Albion Park.”
There is one big catch to the project and that’s that existing thoroughbred trainers using the facility will be kicked out of their base.
They’ve been told that they’ll be required to set up base at either Eagle Farm or the Sunshine Coast by the end of March next year.
Racing Queensland has assured the trainers that they will be given adequate assistance in the relocation process.
“Deagon does not have the space to accommodate the trainers because a new harness and greyhound facility as well as the Deagon Deviation does not leave room for thoroughbred training,” Bentley said.
“RQL has negotiated a deal with the Brisbane Racing Club for an extra 70 on-course stables, 30 tie-up stalls and two horse walkers for the current Deagon trainers at Eagle Farm.
“Additionally, to ensure the training facilities provided at Eagle Farm and Doomben are positioned to cater for the additional workload, Racing Queensland has made a financial contribution to the Brisbane Racing Club to upgrade the main grass training tracks at both Eagle Farm and Doomben.
“RQL will provide the ability for trainers with four or more horses historically trained at Deagon to take advantage of on-course stabling at Eagle Farm (capped at 70 horses) and the Sunshine Coast (capped at 100 horses).
“Racing Queensland and the Brisbane Racing Club will waive specific fees until June 30, 2013, to assist trainers during this period.
“I understand that some trainers are upset they have to move and I feel for them but RQL won’t shy away from tough decisions to help the entire industry.”
The project has received both strong support and strong opposition from sectors of the racing industry with many trainers unhappy about being forcibly removed.
The re-location though would mean Racing Queensland could sell their Albion Park facility and enjoy a huge cash windfall due to the massive value of the precinct.