Brisbane’s Courier Mail is reporting that Queensland’s main greyhound venue has been closed due to structural problems in the main grandstand.
The Courier Mail reports that the 30 year old “Russ Hinze stand has been ordered closed after engineers raised concerns about the structure’s stability.”
According to the Courier Mail, the fault lies with the “sinking foundations of the building” as the root cause of the temporary closure.
With the Gold Coast track set close at the end of July, Ipswich and Albion Park were set to be the only TAB venues for the whole of Queensland, with Albion Park to hold four meeting per week.
Under the guise of the “Albion Park Raceway Management” (The QGRA and Queensland Harness Racing) have today released a media release that claims that “following preliminary engineering advice, Albion Park Raceway, Brisbane, has today announced temporary closure of the Russ Hinze Stand for precautionary reasons”.
“A report on building foundations and other issues relating to the stand has identified that a number of structural matters need to be addressed.”
Albion Park Raceway Management said today “disruption to Harness Racing and Greyhound meetings would be minimal, but the well known Silks Restaurant would be shut, pending further engineering investigations into the stand itself.”
“As a result of the recent safety assessment, a decision has been made to initiate a temporary stand closure until further notice,” the spokesperson said.
“There may be some disruption to the use of Albion Park over the next week and both the Harness Racing Industry and Greyhound Racing Industry are implementing their own measures to keep patrons informed.”
After the announcement of the closures security guards were immediately called in for round-the-clock guard on the grandstand and Saturday night’s harness racing meeting has been transferred to the Gold Coast and next Tuesday’s meeting has been transferred to Redcliffe.
Tonight’s and tomorrow’s greyhound meeting, which feature the running of the Big Dog Pet Foods Queensland Cup, are expected to remain at Albion Park.
Special permission is being sought for the lure driver to remain in his tower in the Russ Hinze stand.
Patrons can still use the original grandstand, built for the 1968 harness racing opening, but they will be at least 60m before the winning post for both codes.
Notwithstanding huddling in tents on the harness track, it would seem inevitable that Albion Park’s future greyhound meetings will need to be transferred for an indeterminate period.
Short of Ipswich running seven greyhound meetings per week, which is nigh on impossible; this latest news is yet another nail in the coffin for greyhound racing in the “Sunshine State”.