There has been a lot of rumours and innuendo regarding the new track at Cannington. Is the track going ahead? Is it just going to be a trial track? Will racing be restricted to just Mandurah and Northam?
ARG spent some time with Greyhounds WA CEO David Hobbs who wanted to set the record straight.
“The first thing I want to do is squash the rumours of a trial track here and now. Our focus is that we have signed a lease for 30 years and in that lease we wouldn’t be able to have a trial track. The lease is specific that the land is to be used for a greyhound racing and entertainment complex.”
“We had a 21.3 million dollar project that we thought was there. It was presented to the economic reform commission and it was looking good. We then ended up with a new treasurer here in WA. Troy Buswell is gone and we have a new treasurer Mike Nahan in the position. The funding from the WA government then fell through and we have had to look at different options to complete the project.”
“RWWA were originally funding us with nine million, but have increased the commitment to 11.5 million. Greyhounds WA will then contribute 1-1.5million and we have scoped the project out at 13 million. The proposal is ready to be finalised and will go in front of the RWWA board in the coming days.”
“We have gone ahead with project definition and planning is now underway, architecture drawings have commenced and tenders are being called for. Our goal is to have a racetrack and Richard burton has announced that Cannington is where we are aiming to be and therefore Cannington is where we are going.”
The obvious question that stems from these statements is, how can the track be completed without 8.3 million from the original planning?
“We will get the track to what I call racing stage, so all off course patronage and wagering will be protected. We do not have enough funding to have the project fully complete with the big restaurant and entertainment for on-site patronage.”
“It will get done bit by bit. We want to avoid any delays in getting the track race ready, that is the focus. The builders have told us that they can have the track ready for racing by July, so there won’t be an overlap.”
“There is going to be two stages. Racetrack, roads, lighting, kenneling and the broadcasting tower etc will be completed in stage one. Everything other than the restaurants and patronage areas. We are short millions, but we are going to make it work. We are looking at contingency plans as we speak to appease our existing patronage with transportable options such as mobile bars and industrial dongers etc.”
“We have temporary measures to use as a stop gap for our trainers and existing patronage. We had 380 people in for dinner on Saturday night and we need to keep that. We are invested in Cannington and will cater for the patrons that support us at the existing track.”
David was extremely committed and positive when I pressed him with another one of the circulating rumours of a second track being built in Mandurah.
“A Sandown style track in Mandurah isn’t a contingency and won’t be happening. That achieves nothing and it’s not what we want. There are no contingency plans outside of a racetrack at Cannington. It’s done, it’s happening. The track will be ready for Sky broadcasting and equipped with lighting, kenneling, limited landscaping and most importantly, it will be ready to race.”