Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching. Picture: Cordell Richardson

Valuable Ipswich lounge being upgraded to enjoy

TURF CHAT

THE online article by sports editor David Lems in the QT last week remembering the Ipswich Sportstar of the Year awards from 1991 was highly appropriate timing.

This is so as those awards were held in the Eye Liner Lounge at the Ipswich Turf Club as one of Ipswich's favourite sporting sons Kevin Walters received the top award.

Another notable event held in the Eye Liner Lounge in 2005 was the release of the Western Corridor Masterplan - the forerunner for extensive growth throughout the Ipswich region.

In addition, countless weddings, functions, parties, presentations and gatherings have been held in the 35 year old lounge over the years with many fond memories made during that time.

It is an appropriate time to reflect on the use of this lounge as it currently undergoes significant refurbishments with an aim of creating a sparkling new venue that will serve for many more decades to come.

This refurbishment is being made in conjunction with other improvements at the club over the next six months.

The downstairs lounge is being converted into a family restaurant and Coffee Café while continuing to be utilised as a refurbished hospitality lounge up to Ipswich Cup Day 2020.

The Eye Liner Lounge is being marginally reduced in size to allow utilisation of a separate Sports Lounge on the upper level, while a children's playground is being installed on the lower level of the premises beside the recently installed Racing Museum.

These refurbished spaces will complement the introduction to the hospitality facilities stable at the ITC as the new State Government funded Lounge becomes available for use early in 2020.

Course works on track

AS we enter the second of a five months racing closure for the ITC, the report is that the works are on track in relation to the drainage and irrigation improvements on the course proper.

The greater proportion of this work is expected to be completed by Christmas with settling in of replaced turf to follow.

While the heavy clay sub surface, lack of spring rain, and hot weather have created difficulties, the contractors and project managers on these works have performed well in conjunction with ITC staff to keep the works ahead of schedule. The 25mm of rain on Sunday was welcome to assist with the works.

The other elements of the works to be done while down from racing include new raceday stalls, new carpark, and widening of TL Cooney Avenue.

Unfortunately, there is still no contract signed and there has been little progress in these areas to date with 20% of the racing shutdown period being passed.

However, as has been the case for the past four months, Racing Queensland project managers continue to promise all of these works to be completed by the end of March in time for the return to racing on April 8.

Positive QR initiative

IN recognising the difficulties faced resulting from severe drought in rural Queensland, Queensland Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe last week announced the "1 for the Bush" fundraising campaign with proceeds directed to the Queensland Country Women's Association's Public Rural Crisis Fund.

Under the initiative, Racing Queensland will donate $1000 for every time the number one was victorious across the state's three racing codes over the weekend just passed.

This is a highly positive initiative recognising the incredibly tough times being had by communities and families around state rural centres.