PATH TO PROGRESS: Jockeys and trainers will have improved facilities to enjoy when the Ipswich Turf Club redevelopment takes shape next year.
PATH TO PROGRESS: Jockeys and trainers will have improved facilities to enjoy when the Ipswich Turf Club redevelopment takes shape next year. Cordell Richardson

Ipswich Turf Club's long-awaited demolition derby starts

THE first sledgehammer has crashed through brick at Ipswich Turf Club to mark the start of its long-awaited upgrades.

The $13 million contract to undertake the most significant work in the racing club's history was signed on November 9 after months of planning and drawn-out discussions .

Upgrades to the turf club will include a two-storey building containing jockey and steward rooms and a members' lounge and function centre.

Demolition started this week at the back of the old jockey rooms.

Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching said it was a surreal feeling to have demolition finally start on the project.

"There was a sledgehammer going into the brick before the races," he said.

"There's been a few different signs we're getting closer over the past four months to starting - fences have gone up."

Mr Kitching said completion of the upgrades would cut Ipswich Cup day fine.

He said there would be no change to the racing, but contingency plans on the set up of marquees will be formed.

Separately, Member for Bundamba Jo-Ann Miller has put Racing Queensland on notice after continued delays in the project.

Speaking in parliament this week, Ms Miller called on Racing Queensland to fast-track the development and ensure there are no negative effect on next year's Ipswich Cup.

"I want Racing Queensland to guarantee that the upgrade will be finished before the Ipswich Cup in 2019 and, if not, that Racing Queensland reimburse the club for any financial losses," she said.

"Racing Queensland has dilly-dallied for far too long and the Ipswich Turf Club should not be disadvantaged. It is simply not on.

"The delays are purely Racing Queensland's fault and I will be watching the progress - or lack thereof - very closely.

"I put Racing Queensland on notice."

Ipswich Turf Club chairman Wayne Patch has previously envisaged stage two of the project would involve a commercial development on Brisbane Rd.

Look out for Brett Kitching's Turf Chat column, which appears in your QT on Tuesdays.



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