$8Million Investment In Geelong Greyhounds In Turmoil
The $8Million investment from Greyhound Racing Victoria and the Victorian State Government, personally signed off by Racing Minister Rob Hulls, appears in dire straights today after two shocking announcements.
Hot on the heels of a move by Victorian State MP for Lara, John Eren to make a case for more community and sporting facilities to be built as part of the Geelong greyhound track redevelopment; it has now emerged that Greyhound Racing Victoria have now placed the embattled club under administration; yet again.
The question must surely be asked – Is Geelong really the best place to make such a huge investment in the future of Victorian greyhound racing?
On the face of it the answer would seem a resounding No.
Greyhound Racing Victoria had already placed the Geelong Greyhound Racing Club under administration some years ago, due to the clubs inability to remain financially viable despite enjoying 2 meetings per week and receiving substantial revenue from the Saturday Markets.
In fact, Australian Racing Greyhound raised concerns about the Geelong Club more than 12 months ago, with industry rumours suggesting the club had incurred a substantial loss, and that Geelong Greyhound Racing Club board appointments and votes were the subject of “good old fashioned branch stacking”.
Despite those concerns, nothing was ever forthcoming from the club or GRV about the viability and foundation of the club, and indeed GRV has kept pouring money in to the track since, with office and kennel redevelopments and now this highly ambitious $8Million twin tracks proposal.
According to Greyhound Racing Victoria, the $8Million Beckley Park twin tracks proposal development is still to proceed as planned, but with GRV CEO John Stephens at the helm as administrator.
Greyhound Racing Victoria this morning dismissed the current board of directors at Geelong and Stephens will solely exercise all of the powers and duties of the Geelong Greyhound Racing Club including any powers and duties of the chairman, board of directors and any members.
Stephens is yet to address the likely fallout from MP Eren's plans to include a sporting field at the expense of the dam, which would make any attempt to manage two tracks in the Beckley Park precinct unviable due to water shortages.
The decision to build two tracks at Geelong and include a small, tight two turn track at Geelong inside the redeveloping one turn track was made largely without industry consultation or briefing, and blew the cost of the project out from $6Million to $8Million.
With highly paid GRV CEO Stephens now in wholly control at Geelong, accountability for any failure to produce the twin tracks on time, in budget and supported by a financially viable club must now lie solely with him.
Lets hope for Stephen's sake that the twin tracks proposal does not become his personal “twin towers”.