Don’t worry about the state of Denmark, Victorian greyhound racing has an odour all of its own at the moment.
Following on from the placement of the Geelong greyhound racing club under administration, and the less the adequate start to TAB racing at Healeseville; Greyhound Racing Victoria has now announced that the high profile Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club has been placed under administration.
The move comes as GRV continues its wild spending spree with plans of a $3.5Million redevelopment of the Lords Raceway greyhound track.
After last year claiming they couldn’t afford a multi million dollar investment in Wangaratta greyhounds, which led to the track closing; GRV has since had a hand in the Geelong track redevelopment, which was to have cost $6Million but blew out to well over $8Million to build a dual track system under GRV’s CEO John Stephens guidance as the administrator.
The Healesville greyhound track, whose debut on Sky Racing and TAB betting has been plagued by delays and track drainage issues has also recently benefited from a $1.5Million redevelopment project. But at the expense of the tracks boutique atmosphere, the last Victorian grass track is being traded for a loam surface.
Of concern, both major decisions to build a dual track system at Geelong, and to convert Healeseville from grass to loam, seem to have been made by the GRV without wider greyhound racing industry consultation or approval. Infact the first many Victorian greyhound participants knew of the plans, was the day they were formally announced!
And now Bendigo greyhound racing too looks set for a $3.5Million capital works program, but the first announcement of the project comes on the day that GRV announce they have sacked the Bendigo greyhound racing club committee and have appointed one of their board members as administrator.
GRV have apparently made the decision to sideline the Bendigo greyhound committee citing a deficit in the committees ability to implement the proposed track redevelopment.
“Greyhound Racing Victoria has been co-ordinating preliminary planning which may lead to a $3.5 million redevelopment of the track and grandstand at the BGRA, however a vast amount of work and knowledge is required to oversee such a redevelopment project”.
“After deliberating over all available information at their monthly GRV Board meeting of October 26, GRV determined that it was not satisfied that there was sufficient depth, expertise and direction at the club to address these matters”.
The Bendigo club has been the source of much industry rumour for some years and it is known that GRV has had several meetings with Bendigo committee representatives and have stepped in on occasion to mediate and negotiate disputes, some of which have originated from within the clubs own administrative structure, and other issues surrounding trials and staff employment.
The position of Secretary Manager at the club has been more of a revolving door in the past few years with most not lasting long in the position. One of those who held the position briefly was the daughter of GRV CEO John Stephens.
Whatever the ultimate outcome, the situation does raise serious concerns about the viability, sustainability and governance of Victorian Greyhound racing, when on one hand GRV are committing to over $13Million in capital works, and yet on the other hand one sixth of the tracks it oversees are under currently administration.