Matamata not buying into amalgamation
There’s a story doing the rounds promoting the idea of Waikato regional racing clubs selling up their assets and reinvesting in a single ‘‘super racetrack’’.
The concept is nothing new, dating back to the 1990s when a ‘‘greenfield’’ suggestion involving the Waikato Racing Club and Cambridge Jockey Club was mooted but came to nothing.
Now it’s being suggested by former Waipa District Councillor John Bishop that there is merit in the same two clubs as well as Waipa joining forces by selling up their current facilities and combining in a single venue.
A Fairfax media report last week also quoted Mr Bishop as ‘‘encouraging Te Aroha and Matamata to consider the idea as well’’.
All I can say is that’s news to the Matamata Racing Club.
As chairman of the MRC I have to admit, along with fellow board members and management, to not knowing Mr Bishop, not having been approached by him to perhaps explain the detail and most importantly, not buying into his suggestion.
While racing is forever looking at ways in a changing landscape to invigorate and future-proof, the MRC and its stakeholders doesn’t see this as a viable solution.
Within its own boundaries the Matamata racing and training facility is a multi-million-dollar complex, while the same applies to the various privately owned operations that exist in close proximity within a council-designated equine zone.
Not only are they established assets combining along with a wide range of ancillary service providers in a vibrant local industry, but what must also be taken into account is the value of the racing and breeding industry to the regional economy.
On an annual basis amounts to millions.
Just don’t ask me exactly how many.
So there you have it, straight from the hip.
Racing will forever be part of the town that’s ‘‘racing ahead’’. that
Dennis Ryan is chairman of the Matamata Racing Club.