WINNER: Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching and Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club manager Merv Page discuss plans to move the greyhound track to Bundamba.
WINNER: Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching and Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club manager Merv Page discuss plans to move the greyhound track to Bundamba. David Nielsen

Greyhound move to Bundamba will be a winning trifecta

A WIN for animal welfare.

A win for the Ipswich economy.

And a win for the future success of the Ipswich Turf Club and Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club.

That is the trifecta of reasons why taking the greyhounds to the turf club in Ipswich has the backing of Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club manager Merv Page and Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching.

The proposal has been in the works for years but now there seems to be the political will to make it a reality, with Racing Minister Grace Grace and Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard backing the move.

Plans had been drawn up in the past for the move and promises from government had been made. The QT has reported on all of this and the issue became a political football.

The funds for what is likely to be a $14 million project would likely come from an over $100 million dollar racing infrastructure fund, that was initially set up in 2010 to develop and maintain clubs that don't have the ability to do it themselves.

The money would go towards the construction of a greyhound track and a much needed upgrade of facilities at the Ipswich Turf Club.

Mr Page took the QT trackside this week to show us the issues his club faces and to explain why ditching the two-turn track at the showgrounds and constructing a one-turn track inside the turf club makes sense on so many levels.

"The biggest problem is the one-turn track and that is all about animal welfare," he said.

"Two-turn tracks are tight tracks and we get a lot of injuries.

"We did have two one-turn tracks at the Toowoomba and Gold Coast but they were closed.

"Now we have two two-turn tracks at Albion Park and here.

"But the name of the game for the past 12 months, as you know, is animal welfare.

"If the authorities want to preach animal welfare they've got to give us a one-turn track and my proposal is that we leave here and go to Bundamba.

"We try and do everything we can for the welfare of the dogs and our track is always brilliantly prepared for trial days and race days, but on two-turn tracks unfortunately they do get hurt."

 

Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club president Merv Page would like to see the club relocate to Bundamba and change the track design from a two turn track to a one turn track.
MOVE ON: Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club president Merv Page has explained why the clubs relocation to Bundamba with a one-turn track is a winning trifecta. David Nielsen

Mr Kitching said there were two key reasons why he backed the move.

"Firstly to bring the greyhounds to industry land, rather than paying rent basically, keeps greyhound racing within the industry," he said.

"Secondly it complements everything we are looking to do with the future development of the turf club.

"If you have a dual-code complex there are more people coming here and more interest.

"We've just had the Ipswich Cup and you can see how many people are interested in going to the races.

"Combine them both and it helps to develop our facilities here into the future."

 

2016 Channel 7 Ipswich Cup - Race 6 - Channel 7 Ipswich Cup.  The crowd watching the race.
PEOPLE PLUS: A dual-code race venue at Ipswich Turf Club will see crowds pour in even more and boost the economy, as they did for the Ipswich Cup. Franca Tigani

Mr Page said greyhound trainers mostly backed the move.

The kennels need upgrading at the showground venue.

"These are antiquated facilities here," the club manager said

"They have been here for 30 years. The lights have nearly had it. The kennels have had it.

"The showgrounds have outgrown us.

"When we came here to race there was a hall and us.

"Now there is a hall, a caravan park, a cricket centre and other buildings.

"There is no parking here. We really need to go to a place of our own."