Quake fears close members' stand
1960s structure 'didn't measure up'CAROLINE KING
A Riccarton racecourse grandstandhas been closed after it was found to be earthquake-prone.
Canterbury Jockey Club chief executive Tim Mills said the closure would have no impact on the New Zealand Cup meeting, which will be run over three days in November.
As a result of a detailed engineering evaluation, the members' stand has been closed immediately.
Mills said it appeared to have suffered only superficial damage in the quakes.
However, engineers told him the stand, which was built in 1960, just "didn't measure up" against the new building standards.
Mills said it would be "premature to try to guess" the fate of the stand.
He did not know if it could be repaired or would have to be demolished.
"At this stage everything is up in the air. We're meeting with our engineers next week."
He said "in reality" the stand did not get used for most of the club's racedays, but for the New Zealand Cup Day races it was used to hold corporate functions.
Mills said that with the closure of the stand, which had food and beverage, toilet and betting facilities, the club was looking at options to minimise the disruption to racegoers.
"The show will go on. We've been running for 157 years and we're not going to let a hiccup like this stop us,'' he said.
''Our first race meeting was in March 1855. We've been through a number of different depressions and world wars; we will get through this. There are ways and means around it."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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