AFTER more than 50 years of continuous greyhound racing at the Ipswich Showgrounds the mechanical hare at the track looks set to be switched off prematurely.
Racing Queensland is building the new $70m Q Greyhound Centre at Yamanto, but it won’t be completed until late next year. That means greyhound owners and trainers will need to travel to NSW and elsewhere to race.
Ipswich Show Society has told the state’s major racing entity that it won’t renew the Ipswich greyhound lease, which ends in January next year, unless they agree to pay a $12m end of term fee.
The show society says they need the money so they take the track out and build a quality new showground arena.
Show president, Darren Zanow, said it might sound a lot, but that amount of money is what’s required to fully rehabilitate the Showground.
“We put this all on the table in lease discussions with Racing Queensland last Thursday and we are disappointed to see they have taken this to the press before we even had another meeting,” he said.
“Once again, the big end of town is short-changing the people of Ipswich leaving us to clean up the mess. We need help to make this happen from the likes of the Premier and State Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard.
“The show society does have a long-standing bank guarantee with the Ipswich Greyhound Club which sees us get $400,000 when the club’s lease finally ends, but that falls a long way short of what we will need to spend.”
Asked for comment over the dispute, Racing Queensland boss Jason Scott declined, saying he “doesn’t want to get into specifics.”
“Racing Queensland is hopeful a more equitable agreement can be reached by both parties,” he said.