BRISBANE greyhounds boss Luke Gatehouse is positive about the direction of greyhound racing in Queensland amid speculation surrounding the future of the sport at Albion Park.
Greyhound racing currently takes place inside the harness track at Albion Park, a site which has been home to racing for 120 years.
However, last month, Racing Queensland unveiled plans which would see the site turned into a showpiece development, with the non-racing income generated to be used to prop up racing in the state.
In April, Racing Queensland announced it would be taking expressions of interest to identify options for up to two new greyhound tracks in south-east Queensland.
Greyhound racing in Queensland has been strained for several years following the closure of the Gold Coast track in 2008 with the ‘replacement’ track at Logan never coming to fruition.
The projects are to be funded by the Racing Infrastructure Fund which has $63 million available now with an additional $61 million of inflows expected from the UBET agreement, which runs until 2023.
Gatehouse enforced the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club supports Racing Queensland’s proposal and says the Club has no fears for the future of the sport in the area.
“If the other tracks don’t happen then the Albion Park development won’t happen – I am highly confident of that,” Gatehouse told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“Our position has always been that we would be best served at a stand alone greyhound complex – not inside a harness track – so we are happy to support the proposal which is out there at the moment from Racing Queensland.
“We have made it very clear to Racing Queensland that the new facility needs to be built prior to any moving out of Albion Park on our behalf.
“We run 210 race meetings a year – we have got to have somewhere to go before we leave.”
Gatehouse refuted claims made by Albion Park Harness Racing Club spokesperson Kevin Seymour in the Courier Mail where he claimed the Club was the rightful owner of the track – not Racing Queensland.
Seymour, described in the article as ‘a harness racing benefactor and property tycoon’ has released his own proposal which would not require any monetary input from Racing Queensland.
In his proposal, the Albion Park Harness Racing Club would bear the costs of the work which would also encompass a high-end housing development, a new grandstand, a first class gaming facility, community hub and football field in the centre of the track.
But Gatehouse says the Harness Club never had ownership of the land and have no control over what is built on the site.
“I really want to re-develop my next door neighbour’s block of land, but I don’t own it just like the harness club don’t own Albion Park,” Gatehouse said.
“Albion Park is owned by Racing Queensland – so any proposed development of Albion Park needs to be approved by the owner of the property.
“The Harness Club have never owned the site – it was originally owned by the Brisbane Amateur Turf Club, then the government owned the land and it was administered by the Albion Park Trust.
“When it was given by the government to the industry the titles were with the Queensland Greyhound Racing Authority and the Queensland Harness Racing Board.
“The Albion Park Harness Club and the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club have never owned the site – we are just an occupant of that site.
“For anyone to suggest the Albion Park Harness Club owned the site prior to the amalgamation is fundamentally incorrect.”
Expressions of interest for suitable sites for the development of the new greyhound tracks close on June 16.