Turf club redevelopment cuts it fine for Ipswich Cup day
ORGANISERS of the Ipswich Cup could be left scrambling next year with the long-awaited $13million upgrade to the track expected to finish just three days before the big race.
A formal agreement between Racing Queensland and the contractor chosen to undertake the works has not been signed.
A contract for the development, which includes a two-storey building containing jockey and steward rooms and a members' lounge and function centre, is expected to be signed by November 1.
The delays have pushed back the estimated completion date for the works to June 13 next year, two days before the Ipswich Cup.
Diggers were supposed to move in and start the multi-million dollar redevelopment in the days after this year's Cup.
Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching acknowledged things were starting to get tight.
"Over the last 10 years we've frustratingly kept saying, add another month," he said.
"The latest we've been told is the inspection of the final works would be completed on June 13 - Ipswich Cup is on June 15.
"You'd have to be a little nervous."
Despite the delay, he said construction timelines would not threaten the running or atmosphere of the annual cup.
"It only impacts on where we would put the people," he said.
Construction would likely reduce the space for marquees and affect the use of the members' lounge.
He said the track would be clear and racing would be held.
Despite the tight timeline, Mr Kitching remains optimistic the contractor will "get in and get it done".
"The race meeting will be had," he said.
Development of the Ipswich Turf Club comes as the State Government's point of consumption tax comes into effect. Dubbed the racing tax, the state has made changes to taxes on large betting operators.
Racing Queensland will receive a $20million grant this financial year to be used on two new racing facilities, "as well as additional financial support to ensure that there's no negative impact on Queensland's racing industry", Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad said.
Some in the industry say all of the revenue should be redirected into racing.
Mr Kitching acknowledged concerns but said there were valid views on both sides.