The project, which has already made significant progress with the complete refurbishment of the kennel house and surrounding area, was set to include a brand new patrons’ area and grandstand which would accommodate not only those involved with greyhound racing, but assist all clubs which use the showgrounds facility on a seasonal basis.
The proposal was put forward by GRSA to grab hold of two-million dollars that was being put on offer as part of the Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF), supporting rural areas undertaking significant infrastructure projects.
Unfortunately however, the July deadline has seen GRSA miss out on the funds, with the RDAF acknowledging the benefit of the Gawler upgrade, but opting to send the money elsewhere for now.
GRSA Chairman Michael Fabbro assures all participants that the Board is still confident the proposal was handled correctly and reflects on what could have been a rare opportunity lost.
“The Gawler Regional Sporting Hub project was an aspirational project for the greyhound industry and the broader community. The Board had been optimistic about a positive outcome”
All is not lost though for those fearing the existing structures may be retained, as GRSA is sticking with its original plan to upgrade the site on a smaller scale.
“Management has been progressing plans in the background in the event that RDAF funding was not secured. We intend to meet with Council and the Gawler Club over the next few weeks to progress those plans” CEO Matt Corby said.
What the RDAF announcement does achieve is setting clarity for those that would be benefitting from such undertakings and gives GRSA the ability to move forward knowing exactly what they have to work with.
Meanwhile, South Australians also await the results of the survey conducted by GRSA in relation to the possible site of a U-turn track to be positioned south of Adelaide. The survey, which has been sent out to select trainers and breeders only, will give the Board a clearer idea of which factors are to be made a priority when selecting a site.
While the decision to omit local owners from the survey comes as a surprise, but the efforts in gathering participants’ feedback has been welcomed and will no doubt go towards eradicating some possible hostilities between such parties that can be witnessed in similar circumstances elsewhere in the country.
While on the topic of the GRSA Board of Directors, a new member was welcomed during the week with Mr Grantley Stevens filling the vacant position. With experiences and knowledge from a variety of industries, the appointment of Mr Stevens seems geared towards financial and business matters, and his contributions will surely be valued.
While South Australia is clearly entering an important period of time off the track, there are big times approaching on it. The popular Champion Puppy series is already underway and highlights the racing scene in July, before the Nationals kick off in August. September sees The South Australian Derby and Oaks get underway before the climax of the Group 1 Adelaide Cup lighting up Angle Park in October.