Racing Queensland Limited (RQL) is seeking input from community groups interested in using unused land at Deagon Racecourse, in an endeavour to make the facility more financially viable.
This was one of the ideas to come from a Deagon Stakeholders meeting hosted last week by State Member for Sandgate Kerry Millard.
The meeting was an opportunity for RQL, Brisbane Racing Club (BRC) and trainers to discuss the future of Deagon Racecourse in an open forum and to end rumours.
RQL chairman Kevin Dixon said there was light at the end of the tunnel for Deagon Racecourse and for local trainers.
“The last few years has been trying for the racing industry in Brisbane but we are headed into a period of stability,” Mr Dixon said.
“RQL is starting to get the team together so the right people are in the right jobs to support trainers and those working in the industry.
“We have a long-term commitment and responsibility to Deagon Racecourse and to the trainers.”
BRC chief executive Stephen Ferguson said the future of Deagon Racecourse as a thoroughbred training centre was secure and that Deagon would outlast the directors of the BRC.
“The primary function of Deagon is as a training facility but ideas are being sought to make it more financially sustainable,” Mr Ferguson said.
“We are considering introducing commercial aspects to Deagon to make it more financially viable but the racecourse will be around for the long term.
“There is potential for Sydney horses to stay at Deagon during Brisbane race meetings or for the number of horses trained at Deagon to be increased. We are open to all ideas.
“Deagon Racecourse has the potential to be financially viable and a place the community wants to be involved with,” Mr Ferguson said.
BRC is a finalist in the Lord Mayor’s Business Awards in the Corporate Citizen Category for demonstrating economic, social and environmental leadership and excellence in the community around Eagle Farm and Doomben.
Mr Ferguson said the award nomination was an acknowledgement of the BRC’s commitment to the community through donations of money and services to local schools and sports clubs like the Hendra Pony Club, Brothers Rugby Club, Doomben Community Sports, Scouts Queensland, Our Lady Help of Christians Primary School and Hendra State School, as well as fundraising for Queensland flood relief.
Mr Ferguson said the BRC was keen to become involved in, and contribute to, the Deagon community in a similar way.
Veteran horse trainer Pat Duff, who has worked at Deagon for the past 15 years, said confidence levels had been lifted about the future of Deagon and the future of the industry.
“Deagon is a good track in spite of having received little maintenance in the last five years,” Mr Duff said.
“With time and money it could become a first-class training facility, which would attract more trainers and more money.
“It’s nice to think there is going to be assistance and support for future trainers, to assist young people getting into racing. That’s the only way to keep the industry alive.”
Ms Millard said Deagon was a working training facility and every idea to create revenue had to be consistent with that and not interfere with Deagon’s primary focus.
“The PCYC community garden and the Men’s Shed group are already in negotiations with RQL to use space at the Deagon Racecourse,” she said.
“The RQL has a huge amount of land at Deagon and is looking to work with the community to utilise some of the unused land for community use and the create revenue.”
Members of the community are welcome to submit their ideas to Kerry Millard by email email@example.com or phone 3269 7018. Ideas will be forwarded to RQL.
Story written by The Star Newspaper, published on October 10, 2012.