THE Victorian Government will jointly fund a $280,000 major project with Racing Victoria to carry out significant drainage investigations at Stony Creek and five other country racecourses.
Minister for Racing Denis Napthine said the government was committed to ensuring that racing was conducted safely at Victoria’s regional racetracks after the flooding weather in recent months. A number of race meetings in regional Victoria were either abandoned or transferred to another venue as a result of flood damage.
“This funding will enable Racing Victoria to conduct drainage investigations at Kilmore, Mornington, Sale, Seymour, Stony Creek and Cranbourne to determine if the existing drainage systems and racing surfaces have been compromised,” Dr Napthine said.
“These six regional racecourses are an important part of Victorian racing and ensuring they are continually safe and race-ready is paramount. While there is no current indication of damage to the drainage at these courses, the Coalition Government and the racing industry do not want to take chances with the safety and integrity of the tracks.
“The racing industry is absolutely vital to regional economies and local communities and the Coalition Government is committed to protecting the infrastructure that supports country racing.
“Already the Coalition Government has jointly funded works to repair flood damage at Benalla, Moe and Kyneton.”
Racing Victoria Chief Operating Officer Bernard Saundry said the government’s support would enable investigators to make use of state-of-the-art technology to conduct drainage inspections and ensure the integrity of tracks would not be compromised in the future.
“Extensive flooding had a serious impact on a number of racetracks throughout the state and placed unprecedented pressure on their drainage systems,” Mr Saundry said.
“As a result of these weather impacts, Racing Victoria with the support of Country Racing Victoria has undertaken an audit of course proper drainage systems across the state.”
The government has committed $140,000 towards the investigation, with Racing Victoria and Country Racing Victoria jointly contributing a further $140,000.
Works involved in the investigations include:
Research to understand existing drainage and track conditions;
On-site track drainage assessments with club staff;
Random probing of subsoil drain lines;
A full examination of each track using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR);
CCTV investigations of all main drains;
Excavation and exposing of drains to check method of pipe joints; and reinstatement of track after excavating holes.
“The Coalition Government and the racing industry will continue to work together to ensure that the heavy rains and floods do not have a lasting impact on country racing venues and the racing community,” Dr Napthine said.