Minister Stirling Hinchliffe (left), seen here with Ipswich Turf Club chairman Wayne Patch.
Minister Stirling Hinchliffe (left), seen here with Ipswich Turf Club chairman Wayne Patch. Cordell Richardson

Turf club calls on council to block RQ's project change

IPSWICH Turf Club boss Wayne Patch has moved to effectively block any changes to the development application covering refurbishments to the Bundamba facility.

It follows the Racing Queensland announcement this week that a blowout in the budget has forced them to abandon part of the original plans for the project, namely the construction of new tie-up stalls for race horses on the southern side of the viewing terraces.

The QT can confirm the Turf Club wrote to Ipswich City Council this week, seeking a ruling that no amendments can be made to the original development application without the club's consent.

An Ipswich City Council spokesman said the "Rescission of Approval" had been passed on to the property and development team.

"Council will ensure that the development approval is fully complied with," the spokesman said.

With the Turf Club having the final say on the development, it could mean that Racing Queensland would not be able to change the location of key elements of the reconstruction project. This includes the new car park, which Ipswich City Council has approved to be built at the site of the current stalls, set for demolition under the original plan.

Mr Patch has defended the quality and safety of the Bundamba track, despite Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe's assertion that the safety of horses and jockeys was one of the main drivers for the change in priorities.

"If there are safety concerns, the meetings are called off. The track is no less safe now than it has been over the past 15 years," Mr Patch said.

The Turf Club confirmed it has lost 11 meetings in the past four years, and 32 over the past 12 years, due to wet weather.

"We understand the track has poor drainage, and we have been telling Racing Queensland this for a long time," Mr Patch said.

"The $500,000 that has already been spent on the track has improved the surface, but no matter how much you spend, you will still have rain and you will still have cancellations. The other factor is that the work Racing Queensland wants to do to the track will take years; we don't know how long it will actually take.

"That's why we are saying to them that they should not be distracted, just finish the job they originally set out to do."