22 January 2021

Canberra Racing Club mounts up to take big redevelopment plans to community

| Ian Bushnell
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Thoroughbred Park Racecourse

There are big infill plans for Thoroughbred Park Racecourse. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Canberra Racing Club is finalising initial redevelopment plans for Thoroughbred Park in Lyneham that could include three to six-storey apartment blocks, a commercial precinct, new stables and training facilities on the track infield and refreshed facilities for racegoers.

The club says the long-term project would deliver 3200 dwellings on the light rail corridor, generate $1 billion in economic activity and more than 2,000 jobs.

It is preparing to take the plans, which are the product of several years’ work, to community consultation next month.

Canberra Racing Club chief executive Andrew Clark said the plans were vital to the club’s ongoing viability, particularly after a year in which COVID-19 restrictions have eaten into its revenue, especially the hospitality trade.

”It’s been a challenging time, but we’re pressing on,” he said. “We’ve been able to race all the way through COVID, which is important to generate the revenue that allows the 440 employees to earn an income.”

He said underutilised land at Thoroughbred Park and the advent of light rail provided the impetus for residential development.

”Light rail is absolutely critical to the project. We’ve got two stops nearby, so it’s important we play our part in assisting with the light rail objectives,” he said.

”We’re ideally suited. We’re close to the city, we’re on two light rail stops, and we believe there are positives that can come out of this project.”

The commercial precinct could also accommodate a hotel and retirement facilities.

Mr Clark said the club wanted to create a mixed-use precinct that complemented on-course activities, capitalising on returning and enhancing the race-day experience for patrons and ensuring the club’s financial sustainability.

He said the centre of racecourses was often underutilised in Australia so the club was looking to emulate development like that at Eagle Farm in Brisbane, where stabling has been moved to the infield.

Building new stabling and training facilities would also improve horse welfare and training outcomes, Mr Clark said.

Mr Clark said the project would not be developed in isolation, but be part of a whole of precinct approach, with nearby Exhibition Park, Yowani Country Club and Kamberra Function Centre all having redevelopment plans.

He said the project had a 12 to 15-year horizon and would require a variation of the Territory Plan variation, a two-year process in itself.

The club would seek to change part of the Thoroughbred Park’s zoning from NUZ1 for broadacre usage to CZ5 (commercial) and RZ5 (high-density residential).

Mr Clark stressed that the project details, such as building heights, were not set in stone and that the club would take on board what the community had to say.

Members have been able to sight the plans, but they are being refined further for the beginning of a three-month community consultation period in February.

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There should be a petition to stop this. We don’t need more units, and why at thoroughbred park. The worst idea. The Canberra show, summernats, camping, folk festival, so many more functions are held at EPIC which do make noise and is a great place for events as these. Next door thoroughbred park should also be used for community functions, as it is land meant for it from the Government. Not a suitable land for residence.

Capital Retro10:38 am 05 Feb 21

Perhaps a hundred and fifty years ago horse racing was sport but now it is only about making money, big money.

Still, horse racing clubs receive taxpayer funded subsidies and concessions that are not for the benefit of the general community.

Expect the government to fund 100% of the cost of relocating the horse racing industry in Canberra and waive any sort of a “betterment tax” when the developers buy the lease.

This is a very bad idea.. This land is built for government sporting functions, not to make residences just to get more money. Why are they developing here out of all places. Residents will complain about the noise coming from EPIC which hosts like all the main events that occur in Canberra. Our sporting ground and recreation facilities need to be kept protected!

Racecourse land should not be used for units. Sporting government land should be purposed for sports and recreation for the community. It is unethical for greedy developers seeking to destroy northside community purposed sporting land for housing development. It also is a bad location for residence with noise from epic as well as the early trainings of jockeys at the racecourse. There will be complaints without a doubt. And relocating epic to build more units is definitely a silly idea.

It’s not a good idea. Many residents are probably going to complain about the noise at EPIC. Many events are going to be lessened, causing many of the main events in Canberra to shut down and be moved. Why move it when it’s already all built. Looking into the future of this it doesn’t look very great.

steven tolerhan11:11 pm 31 Jan 21

isnt that crown land? why should they make profits from land granted to be used for the people?!?

Harmony Spring9:10 pm 31 Jan 21

You can’t move epic because epic is where most of the main events are. The horse races are to loud people in the apartments will complain about the loud horse races. There won’t be enough space to park.

Harmony Spring9:09 pm 31 Jan 21

You can’t move epic because epic is where most of the main events are. The horse races are to loud people in the apartments will complain about the loud horse races.

I find this so dumb ngl. Like everyone living there is gonna complain bc of the noise from epic events and the horse races. Like we cant just get epic and dump it in another place for all the events. What about the canberra show or summernats or the farmers markets and so much more events will have to close down because they wanna add some more apartments. Loada of people will lose their jobs from this

Capital Retro8:48 pm 26 Jan 21

It should be a betterment tax bonanza for the cash strapped government.

Here we go again. A sporting organisation that has been granted land in the past for sporting purposes, seeking to sell off OUR land for big fat profits. Under the Barr government, very little, if any, of these profits will ever come back to the community.

Not really, this will actually make sure that the sport still exists in the ACT as the profits will ensure the long term viability of horae racing on the current site.

As there are significant elements of the ACT government that want to remove any financial support to the industry (despite the significant taxation revenue derived), how else do you propose they continue to operate if not by using their land more efficiently?

And as the change in land use requires a territory plan variation and lease changes, the government will receive a large revenue increase through the Lease Variation Charge and massively increased ongoing rates revenue from the site.

At it again Chewy, pretending the ACT racing industry creates significant taxation revenue for the ACT Government. It doesn’t, end of story.

The proposal to better utilise land at Thoroughbred park makes sense however.

As for lease variation charges, can guarantee the first request from Thoroughbred Park will be for a waiver. Its worked for just about every other sporting entity that’s done development in some form….

Yes because it is reality. End of story.

Capital Retro10:25 am 25 Jan 21

Urban renewal on steroids.

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