BRISBANE Lord Mayor Graham Quirk (pictured) has called for Deagon to be immediately ruled out as a greyhound racing venue, but Racing Queensland (RQ) is not having a bar of it.
RQ announced yesterday it would fast track talks with the dog racing industry to progress new infrastructure in South East Queensland, but while the body wants to build a multi-purpose facility at Deagon, it is still experiencing significant delays in the fight over Albion Park.
In the meantime, the dogs are without a home in the region. The impasse has led RQ to enter into discussions with the greyhound industry to consider other sites, potentially at Logan or the Gold Coast.
If the industry decides on another location, instead of waiting for the Deagon option, there will be no dog racing at that venue, but RQ will push ahead with its plan for harness racing to take place.
Cr Quirk says a full-time track at Deagon will impact on residents and cause traffic problems.
“Racing Queensland still have a development application to turn the Deagon horse training facility into a greyhound and harness racing super track and until they withdraw it, the fight is far from over,” says Cr Quirk.
“Nobody is opposed to an upgrade of the historic horse training facilities at Deagon. But building a fulltime race track will cause a range of amenity issues for local residents from dust, noise and light pollution to traffic congestion while destroying the livelihoods of local trainers and their families.”
RQ chairman Bob Bentley says a boutique horse training operation with about 150 horses runs out of Deagon, which was not the best use for the 22-hectare property.
“It is fine for the Lord Mayor to call for this boutique training centre to remain training 150 horses, but that runs at a loss to the whole industry,” says Bentley.
“Time and again studies have shown that the multi-purpose facilities provide the best value for money and this is a sensible development. We are not withdrawing our application and it is still our preferred site for harness racing.”
He says the greyhound industry has unfairly been held to ransom by the hold ups at Albion Park, which is why alternative venues are being considered.
Meetings will be held on Monday for stakeholders to discuss whether plans for another venue, possibly at Logan or the Gold Coast, should push ahead.
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