Day At The Track

Racing bodies at loggerheads over Belmont

10:53 AM 26 Mar 2016 NZDT
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Racing bodies at loggerheads over Belmont
Racing bodies at loggerheads over Belmont

Racing and Wagering WA is at odds with Perth Racing over its push for the State Government to contribute to its multi-million dollar development of Belmont Park into an entertainment centre.

PR is urging the government to contribute to the $74 million required to construct a new grandstand, which will have space for a convention and exhibition floors, restaurants, cafes and Perth’s biggest rooftop bar and garden.

The overhaul is aimed at turning Belmont in a 24-hour facility.

Part of the redevelopment will have a 1300-bay carpark, which could take the overflow from the nearby Perth Stadium, which is due to be finished by January 1, 2018.

PR is looking for the government to provide the money from the proposed sale of the State TAB, which has a reported value of $250 million.

RWWA established the Metropolitan Equine Asset Review Taskforce in 2014 to review the metropolitan thoroughbred and harness racing and training assets so it can provide for the industry’s future needs in a highly competitive wagering, leisure and sporting market.

Last September, independent consultants GHD recommended to MEART that Lark Hill be developed into a multi-use racing and training venue and to keep Ascot racecourse.

GHD identified the multi-purpose use of Ascot for training, racing and stabling as a more effective use of resources in the long term than Belmont Park, which will be a racing-only venue.

RWWA chief executive Richard Burt acknowledged PR, as the owner of Belmont, had the right to develop the venue, but questioned why it was asking for government funds to back its redevelopment.

“MEART raised a number of concerns associated with the redevelopment of Belmont both in terms of the venue being single use and whether PR has the capacity to operate two major city racetracks on a sustainable basis,” Burt said.

“RWWA has not seen a detailed business plan to justify the development and in the absence of that information is not convinced that the scale of this development would be a good use of scarce industry resources.

“RWWA will wait on advice from PR on the club’s future business model prior to RWWA commenting further on the appropriateness of the redevelopment.

“In respect to the sale of the TAB, RWWA believes the industry should work collectively in the process of engaging the government and not pursue individual club interests.

“It also considers premature the presumption that funds from a proposed sale of the TAB would be directed towards the Belmont redevelopment ahead of other metropolitan and regional racing infrastructures requirements.”

 - The West Australian

Reprinted with permission of the au.news.yahoo.com site

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