AFTER being closed for more than five months due to animal welfare issues, the Gunnedah greyhound racing track is set for a $480,000 facelift.
The track was closed in February this year after a routine inspection from Greyhound Racing NSW found it to be “compromised at some points”.
NSW Racing Minister, Paul Toole, said the upgrade would also benefit the local economy.
“Gunnedah hasn’t seen any greyhound racing since February,” Mr Toole said.
“For a lot of the local owners and trainers, they’ve had to go outside of the area and not race here in town.
“Greyhound racing is a boost for the local economy and the events that will be taking place here as part of this upgrade will shore up greyhound racing in Gunnedah and help drive the local economy.”
Gunnedah Greyhound Racing Club president, Geoff Rose, said the decision to close the track was made for the safety of the greyhounds competing.
“This is the greatest boost for our club that I’ve ever seen,” Mr Rose said.
“This is all about safety – we have to make this right for the greyhounds because no wants the dogs to get injured.
“We need to upgrade this track to the standard set by Greyhound Racing NSW and this $480,000 will do that.”
Mr Toole said the construction works would be carried out by local companies.
“Included in the $480,000 upgrade is a road-base for the sand track to ensure animal safety, some works to the rail and a new lure,” Mr Toole said.
“As well as being a benefit to animal welfare, and a future driver of the local economy, this upgrade will also see local trades and sub-contractors benefit from taking part in the construction process.
“Coupled with reducing travel time for trainers and owners around the region, this upgrade is a major boost for greyhound racing in Gunnedah.”
Mr Rose said he hoped the track would be ready to go later in the year.
“Hopefully with this upgrade we can return later in the year and take on some more TAB meetings,” he said.