Weighing options slows racecourse work

JACOB PAGE
Last updated 11:47 29/05/2014
waimate racecourse
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax NZ
WORK IN PROGRESS: A sorry-looking Waimate Racecourse will eventually get a revamp after September's wild weather but just what it will look like when completed is yet to be decided.

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The redevelopment of Waimate Racecourse is in a holding pattern, trustee Robbie Crawford says.

The course lost the roofs on both grandstands, as well as the swab box and the stalls, and also lost a few open stalls during strong winds last September.

No firm decision has been made on how to proceed since demolition work was completed in February.

Waimate Trotting Club president Lex Williams said progress had been very slow and those sentiments were echoed by Crawford.

"We're still in limbo and working through the various options."

Concept plans had been discussed in February after an insurance payout but that's as far as things had gone.

"Which way we go - whether we try to up-spec what we have or whether we roll it back a bit and make it fit the cash we've got.

"The running costs of the course are pretty low. Most of the work is voluntary labour so the losses from that sort of thing are quite low.

"We certainly want to get the ball rolling as soon as possible but it is a slow process," Crawford said.

For Williams, the wind had been a rough start to his presidency, having taken over the reins at the club a week before the winds.

Williams said he expected the total cost to be about $500,000, which he thought was realistic.

The figure included $100,000 needed to replace the main tower which had suffered unrelated water damage.

Williams said he was gutted to see the course looking the way it was but hoped a shift in race day from December to March would make the race meeting more viable and give his club more time to get things back on track.

"I believe this place is a community asset and it would be good to see some community support for it.

"Some will look at the price and question whether it is justified for one meeting but I know of at least six trainers who train their horses here and it would be a real shame if they had no track to come to."

He said country clubs needed support both on and off course to survive.

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- The Timaru Herald

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