Ipswich upgrade finally back on course with $13m cash injection
IPSWICH Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching waited the best part of 13 years for Friday’s $13 million grant to the club, which will open the door for the club to be self-sufficient into the future.
Ipswich is the first thoroughbred club to receive an allocation under the new infrastructure plan for the industry.
More announcements are expected to be made in coming weeks, with the Gold Coast Turf Club a likely recipient of funds, which the club needs to unlock in order to progress some of the development plans it has unveiled with new partner Aquis this week.
The Ipswich allocation comprises $10 million for remedial turf works and partial resurfacing of the course proper, a new building for jockeys and stewards and a new function centre.
Ipswich had verbal agreements on a number of occasions for funding, but changes to Racing Queensland administrations had seen the proposals fall over.
“This is my 13th year and it was five months after I started we first started on this,” Kitching said.
“It’s been awfully frustrating for a long period of time. To get to the point now where we are finally getting it after being approved several times and then knocked back for one reason or another, we are getting what the venue deserves.
“This will get us to the point of being able to undertake a commercial development. That is very important to us, Racing Queensland and the whole industry.”
The more any of the clubs can do to get to a sustainable self-sufficient position, the better off everyone will be.
Part of the funding is to fix the track, which has been susceptible to wet weather in recent years, with poor drainage.
“It’s not going to be the best possible level, but at least we will get some drainage in there. It got to the point where it drained less than 10ml per hour,” Kitching said.
The project, which may be completed by May next year, also includes provision for up to an additional $3 million for a sealed car park for 125 cars, new race day stalls and float set-down area.
Story courtesy Nathan Exelby – Brisbane Courier Mail