HOPES FOR RETURN OF HORSE
RACING BEFORE YEAR'S END

All going to plan, there could be a return to horse racing at the historic York race track later this year.

Chairman of York Racing Inc, Pat Flynn, said negotiations had gone on for three years since the historic grandstand was badly damaged by the storm in January 2011 and it became obvious that restoration of the old building was not viable.

"Funds for the new multipurpose, steel framed, iron clad building  had come from Racing and Wagering WA, Royalties for Regions, the Racecourse Infrastructure Grants Program along with $100,000 from York Racing. "Racing and Gaming Minister, Terry Waldron, signed off on the grant funding on February 25 giving York Racing the $1.3million it needs to complete construction,"  he said.

"The sticking point was meeting design requirements  relating to fire safety, disabled access, plumbing and electricity and finding funds to cover the costs involved. "The new building will not have a grandstand but will incorporate a few items from the old stand. "It will house new administration, change rooms and rest area for licensed personnel  and an area catering for the public  with bar, kitchen, toilets and betting facilities. "The existing 'Smyth' pavilion and stand will also get a facelift and remain a place for members," Mr Flynn said.

"We hope to have the building finished and everything ready to hold our first race meeting on September 4. "Earthworks that will include raising the ground level to track height for easy access, should start shortly and take about four weeks."By then plans for the building should be finished ready for work to start on the structure," he said.

"The track has been maintained to a standard that allowed thoroughbred track work to continue since race meetings stopped. "There will be some remedial work on corners to meet racing standards before racing starts," Mr Flynn said.

"About 80-90% of work will be done from York or Northam. "Other work to be done includes provision of a new car park with access from Eighth Road. "We are seeking much needed help from anyone in the community who may wish to get involved. "They can contact me on 0438 838 070. "York Racing is building something for York not just racing,"  he said.

Lindsay McNeill

ABOVE: Chairman of York Racing Inc, Pat Flynn (R) with deputy chairman - harness racing, Merv Gray, amongst pegs that mark one corner of the new building with the Smyth pavilion and stand in the background.