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Ipswich racetrack set for remedial work

Racing Queensland will start major remediation work on the troubled Ipswich racetrack but it has upset the club by scrapping plans for an upgrade of tie-up stalls at the course.

Ipswich has had several abandoned meetings in the past six months even though there was little rain in the lead-up.

The track has stood up much better in recent weeks although half a meeting was lost last Saturday after a mid-afternoon deluge.

In a statement RQ said it would seek government approval to access an additional $6 million from the Racing Infrastructure Fund which would take the total Ipswich project cost to $19 million.

The course is also undergoing a major off track redevelopment but it has been hit by delays.

RQ said the discovery of asbestos and soil contaminants had significantly impacted the commercial building and jockey building project, with contractors being forced to remove 10-times the amount of earthworks than originally thought.

The additional RIF funding will cater for the increased civil works to complete the building and track remediation following a recent geotechnical engineering report and irrigation audit which revealed multiple issues.

The first step will be to replace the decades-old irrigation infrastructure.

RQ said as a consequence of the increased scope of works and costs, Ipswich Turf Club was also informed that the planned relocation of the club’s tie-up stalls would not be proceeding.

Works to complete the club’s new function centre including stewards and jockeys’ rooms are expected to finish by August while new car parking will also be constructed.

ITC chairman Wayne Patch is overseas but in a social media post he called on the state government to honour the commitment for new tie-up stalls which he said were decades past their use by date.

He said the scrapped work was an important part of the overall picture.

RQ has said it does not have the money to undertake all the work.

“Racing Queensland has obligations to the entire industry, and while our infrastructure funds remain limited, we need to carefully balance our competing priorities,” Racing Queensland boss Brendan Parnell said.

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