WHILE the Townsville Turf Club (TTC) is still immersed in a long and arduous battle with high profile developers and Main Roads over proposed changes to the Bruce Highway that will severely impact on Cluden, there may be light at the “end of the overpass’’.
The latest mail is that there could be a “way around it”.
According to a TTC source, the current float and licensee’s entrance will be lost. It will go under the overpass if the latest plans are adopted.
Seems whatever happens, there will be only the one entry to the racecourse - that being off the roundabout that also serves the entry point to Fairfield Waters. Imagine the scene there when Saturday morning shoppers and racegoers merge on big race days. It will be an absolute horror on Townsville Cup day, no doubt.
Main Roads has come under severe attack for its total lack of consultation in this shemozzle. The department, already on the nose under the Newman government, simply changed the original plans (twice) without any consultation whatsoever with those who will be most affected, including, of course, the TTC.
And why? Who does this latest change of plans benefit most?
If Main Roads can’t provide the satisfactory answer to the Cluden dwellers and the turf club, or explain publicly what is going on, then the CMC might be called in to help provide some answers.
Yes, there’s a hint of CMC involvement because people are sick and tired of the secrecy and heavy-handed treatment being administered by a government department. And of decisions being made that clearly advantage certain developments, at the expense of others in the region.
That’s not all. Near neighbors Fairfield Waters and the Turf Club are involved in a somewhat bitter and very expensive dispute over Cluden’s indoor lake that could end in court.
It is a multi-million dollar action by the Turf Club which claim Fairfield Waters took more than the agreed quantity of land fill from the lake site.
They allegedly dug too deep, rendering the lake useless as a fresh water reserve which the Turf Club had hoped to use for watering purposes.
This case has festered on for years but is set down for determination anytime now.
Better news for the TTC is that they will get a new track after all. Well, that’s the whisper.
New Cluden track?
EXPECT an announcement soon that Cluden will get a brand new StrathAyr track just like Mackay. The same surface that Mooney Valley pioneered in Australia and now used successfully in Hongkong at both tracks, Shatin and Happy Valley and Singapore as well,
Work will probably start straight after the Townsville Amateurs in August. Great news for Townsville
which has really been at the bottom of the list as far as track upgrades go in this state.
Meanwhile at Cairns
NEWS is not so good at Cairns which also has a brand new track - but there are problems. Major problems, according to some of the licensees, though the gravity of the situation is not shared by the club nor, apparently, Racing Queensland.
For some unaccountable reason the sand/loam that was spread on the new track was unscreened, so the story goes. Down came the rain and up came the stones. Thousands of them, some the size of a cricket ball. Warren Williams was up again this week to sort out the mess.
Truckloads of stones have been carried away.
And that’s not all. The club has just sacked its long time track curator Steve Clark. Not sure of the reason yet, but he was cast adrift last Thursday and it is now in the hands of a lawyer.
Watch this space.
You can bet Work Place Health and Safety will be keen to assess the track before the first scheduled meeting at Cannon Park. And maybe chiefs of Racing Queensland, who are financing the project, might be interested to see some current pics of the stone infested track and view a couple of text exchanges between key figures in this expensive undertaking.
POPULAR north Queensland jockey Jeffrey Felix has made a long awaited return to the racetrack.
Jovial Jeff has been off the scene since a race fall at Mackay eight months ago. He has been a leading jockey in the north for many years and while has snagged many of the big races, he has also been victim of some very nasty race accidents that have impacted severely on his record.
However he always bounces back, just as he has done this timed and is now a regular at Cluden track work riding out for Olivia Cairns with whom he has had a long and successful association.
He is in no hurry to return to race riding. “It will happen when it happens”. Hopefully sometime soon.
Maxi Cup for April 6
MAXWELTON, the tiny train stop between Richmond and Julia Creek, didn’t have a race meeting last year because the track and appointments were deemed by Racing Queensland as not being up to accepted standards.
But with a $50,000 grant from Richmond Shire Council the 63rd running of the Maxi Cup will be held on April 6.
New secretary Connie Wharton said a running rail has been completed around the track and other amenities have been updated to the satisfaction of RQ.
She said, however, that it is a year to year situation at Maxi which relies on sponsors for much of the prize money. The downturn in mining has left nearby Cannington out this year and, she reports, Banks and other big commercial entities have shied away from race sponsorship as they perceive that gambling is no longer popular in the greater community.
The club this year has $36,000 on offer for its five race card and Connie has appealed to business houses to participate in this popular day out- the only social event on the calendar in the region.
Naming rights to a race can be secured for $1000 with facilities to advertise and promote products around the grounds.
Of course the now famous Maxi tug-o-war will be back as well as nonstop activities for the kids and a big bash after the last.