A $12 million redevelopment of the Townsville Turf Club is underway after its facilities were devastated by the unprecedented floods.
Townsville Turf Club president Malcolm Petrofski said the racetrack was operational since April 9 but no other facilities were open.
“We don’t have any buildings, there’s no facilities we’ve had to redo the track, so we’ve spent half a million dollars on the track just to get it back so we can race,” Mr Petrofski said.
“That was important to get that done first so we could get the industry and the trainers back running.”
Mr Petrofski said the $12 million redevelopment would see the members grandstand get a revamp, inclusive of a dining area, and the public grandstand getting back in touch with its heritage.
“The whole design is to modernise and future-proof our facility for another 150 years, but also to honour the heritage of the site and the buildings,” he said.
“With the main heritage grandstand we’re actually spending some extra money to bring it back closer to what it was 100 years ago when it was built.
“The new design is for the public, its so the people can actually see the races and what we’re trying to do is have more interaction with the horses … it’s critical that people come out and feel the atmosphere.”
Mr Petrofski said male and female jockeys would be getting new change rooms with features to help attract people to the profession.
“We’ve received some funding from the Federal Government, it will be a brand new facility which has equal access for females and males,” he said.
General manager Natalie Rintala said the weather event had disrupted the local industry, but presented new opportunities.
“While it’s been challenging, it’s been very exciting to be part of the growth and what’s going to happen into the future for the club, I’m extremely happy for the development,” she said.
The project is due to be completed by next February.
Mr Petrofski said this year’s Winter Racing Carnival would be at reduced capacity for 4500 people because of the restricted use of facilities.
He urged patrons to get in early and book online to secure their spots.
Article originally published by the Townsville Bulletin https://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/business/townsville-turf-club-on-right-track-with-12m-revamp/news-story/5e0ec682d5c4766598833adc02ff2ed6