Day At The Track

Track at North Wagga delayed again

07:42 PM 13 May 2015 NZST
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Rex Horne - Remains optimistic that the proposed $6,000,000 track will go ahead at North Wagga
Rex Horne - Remains optimistic that the proposed $6,000,000 track will go ahead at North Wagga
Frustrated trainers angered by a delayed harness racing track being developed at North Wagga fear another site floated will cause further delays.
 
Riverina harness racing trainer Shaun Snudden said development of the $6 million first-class facility was earmarked to start in February to open later in the year.
 
“As far as we’re concerned, we just want it built,” Snudden said. “Hopefully they can get on with it.”
 
His frustration follows Wagga City (WWCC) councillors carrying Cr Alan Brown’s notice of motion on Monday night to receive a report from staff at the July Policy and Strategy meeting, which will consider an alternative site at the corner of Copland Street and Kooringal Road for sale or long-term lease.
 
Snudden said despite flooding concerns, North Wagga remained a viable option because the country’s premier track at Menangle was also built on a floodplain.
 
But HRNSW chairman Rex Horne remains confident it will go ahead at North Wagga, having inspected both sites with WWCC staff yesterday.
 
"As far as we're concerned, it's full steam ahead," Horne said. “Our first preference is still North Wagga.”
 
HRNSW will prepare further reports relating to North Wagga to submit to the Southern Joint Regional Planning Panel in coming weeks.
 
Horne believed only 13 hectares of the alternative site could be used and therefore not large enough for the 24-hectare development.
 
While HRNSW purchased the North Wagga site from WWCC several months ago for just $1, stamp duties and other costs have seen them spend upwards of $200,000 planning the development there.
 
Cr Brown said North Wagga was unsuitable because it was flood-prone, was located out of the city centre, would impact nearby residents and couldn’t double as a multi-purpose centre.
 
Cr Garry Hiscock “couldn’t agree more”, questioning why it was being considered on a floodplain.
 
He anticipated the alternative site would create a sporting precinct alongside Equex.
 
Cr Greg Conkey argued North Wagga was HRNSW’s preferred site and the Copland Street site was the jewel in the CBD crown. 
 
Ella Smith  -  Reproduced with the permission of the Daily Advertiser
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