Fi­nally on the road to a ma­jor up­grade

Wangaratta Chronicle - - News - jzeuschner@ ne­me­ BY JEFF ZEUSCHNER

A MULTI-MIL­LION dol­lar up­grade to help ce­ment Wangaratta Turf Club as one of the state’s premier rac­ing venues is plough­ing ahead.

Road­works to cre­ate a new pub­lic en­trance to the race­course off Cruse Street are un­der way, and weather per­mit­ting, will be com­pleted in time for the club’s Mel­bourne Cup Day race meet­ing.

Old sta­bles at the north­ern end of the race­course have been de­mol­ished and the first of a twostaged new sta­ble block, with 36 boxes at the south­ern end of the course, are to start within weeks.

“Stage one is to be com­pleted by Christ­mas, with the fi­nal stage to start early next year and be done by April, ” club chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Paul Hoysted said this week.

“Hav­ing all the sta­bles and horses at the south­ern end and mov­ing our pub­lic en­trance to the north­ern end makes it a lot safer and con­ve­nient for ev­ery­one.

“And the new sta­bles will also fa­cil­i­tate an ad­di­tional trainer... we’ve got around 250 horses in work from Wangaratta at present, with 120 us­ing our track daily, and we’re fore­cast­ing that to rise to 160.”

The up­grade will also see con­struc­tion of a com­bined multi-use func­tion cen­tre and race­course grand­stand where the old grand­stand used to be, as well as an on­site 20-bed ac­com­mo­da­tion fa­cil­ity for equine stu­dents.

Mr Hoysted said work on the three storey grand­stand and mul­ti­pur­pose func­tion cen­tre will be­gin af­ter the Mel­bourne Cup race day and should take around six months to com­plete.

“The lower ground func­tion cen­tre will cater for over 400 peo­ple while there will also be room to cater for 100 peo­ple at the rear for the grand­stand seat­ing,” he said.

“Con­struc­tion of the ac­com­mo­da­tion fa­cil­ity will be­gin in De­cem­ber and we’re look­ing to take en­rol­ment into the equine ed­u­ca­tion cour­ses mid next year.”

Mr Hoysted said the works marked an ex­cit­ing phase for the club, build­ing on the first stage of works which re­built the track, im­proved ir­ri­ga­tion and put in an equine swim­ming pool.

“We’ve been talk­ing about the project for three to four years, so to fi­nally see ac­tion is ter­rific,” he said.

“It will be great for our club, for rac­ing and the wider com­mu­nity.

“One of the re­ally im­por­tant things for us is that this whole project, worth close to $7 mil­lion, has cre­ated the equiv­a­lent of 34 full time jobs,” he said.

“Of the works, 85 per cent has gone to busi­nesses in the Ru­ral City of Wangaratta, with the re­main­der in re­gional Vic­to­ria.”

Ja­clyn Symes (MLC, North­ern Vic­to­ria), who in­spected on-site works with Mr Hoysted on Wed­nes­day, said the project would help con­sol­i­date the eco­nomic and so­cial im­por­tance of rac­ing, and its shared fa­cil­i­ties, within the com­mu­nity.

The rac­ing in­dus­try in the Ovens-Mur­ray re­gion, which takes in Wangaratta, gen­er­ates more than $39 mil­lion in eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity and sus­tains al­most 350 full-time jobs.

We’ve been talk­ing about the project for three to four years, so to fi­nally see ac­tion is ter­rific.

IN­SPECT­ING THE WORKS: Ja­clyn Symes (MLC, North­ern Vic­to­ria) and Wangaratta Turf Club CEO Paul Hoysted were happy to see con­struc­tion works on the new pub­lic en­trance to the race­course off Cruse Street well un­der way this week.

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