The Clarence River Jockey Club is on track to commence construction on a new, recycled water project to improve water efficiency at Grafton Racecourse.
On October 8, CRJC chairman Graeme Green joined Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis and NSW Minister for Racing Kevin Anderson trackside for the official announcement of a $1 million grant from the NSW Government to help fund the environmental project.
A 6GL dam along with several greywater tanks, which will capture and treat stormwater from the Westlawn area, will be constructed on the site of the former Westlawn Golf Course in the middle of Grafton Racecourse to irrigate the course proper and prevent run-off and effluent flowing into the Clarence River.
Describing the DA as 99.9 per cent complete, Mr Green welcomed the funding and said it is a significant investment in the future of country racing in Grafton.
“It will enable us to get going right now,” Mr Green said of the development.
“We’re ready to go.
“It is imperative we continue to improve the use of water resources and this massive water retention and recycling project will allow this to happen immediately.”
The investment is being rolled out as part of the NSW Government’s COVID-19 stimulus package.
It will result in 18 new jobs in the Clarence electorate for local tradies which Mr Gulaptis added will deliver a much-need economic stimulus.
“COVID-19 has impacted the ability of the CRJC to fund much needed infrastructure improvements, so I am very pleased to be able to work alongside the club during this time to secure funding for these vital works,” he said.
“Racing has a long and proud history in Grafton and the racing industry is significant to our local economy and sporting culture.
“This grant will help ensure our local racing industry remains sustainable and vibrant and attracts new participants once the pandemic passes.”
As he viewed the racecourse from the member’s stand, Mr Anderson said the NSW Government is committed to supporting racing infrastructure across regional areas of the state.
Crediting the CRJC for their forward planning and Mr Gulaptis for his dedication and assistance in delivering the funding, Mr Anderson said it was imperative racing clubs with shovel ready projects were good to go.
“As a strong supporter of regional racing, the NSW Nationals recognise the key role the regional tracks play in creating jobs and tourism as well as bringing communities together,” Mr Anderson said.
“A lot of country racing clubs have been doing it tough during the
COVID-19 pandemic and when the Treasurer was looking at the stimulus money, I went in hard and said we need to carve out some of that for racing.
“Chris has been on my case and said if there was any cash floating around, we need it for Grafton so when we were able to get some money from the stimulus package for racing, Chris’s name was at the top of the list and we’ve managed to snare $1 million for the CRJC.”
Mr Green thanked the NSW Government, the Nationals and the Minister for their support on behalf of the CRJC and said the funding will enable the club to continue to develop local racing facilities and employ more local staff, post and during the global pandemic.