Border Park Raceway buyout talk

HISTORIC Border Park Raceway at Tweed Heads may be sold to Gold Coast City Council for sports fields - but club officials yesterday moved to scotch rumours that the deal will force out the current greyhound racing.

Gold Coast City Council wants to buy all or part of the 12-hectare site for sporting grounds for the southern part of the city - even though it sits just south of the state border in Tweed Shire.

Yesterday the likely deal was hailed as an example of cross-border co-operation by Tweed mayor Warren Polglase, who revealed he would discuss the sports fields proposal with Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke at a planned meeting towards the end of October.

But Tweed Heads Coursing Club president Harry Pledger said he wanted to reassure the greyhound racing industry and punters that races would continue at the site under any deal.

Suggestions that greyhound racing would move to Murwil- lumbah racecourse or any other area, he said, were completely wrong.

“There have been a lot of rumours going around about this,” Mr Pledger said. “At present we are negotiating with the Gold Coast Council on a plan whereby they may acquire a certain part of Border Park for sporting fields, but at the same time the greyhound club will continue to race.

“We will be occupying the space now taken up for greyhound racing. A lot of greyhound people are under the impression we are getting out. That is not the situation at all.

“The truth of the matter is, with the economic situation and the drop in tote (betting) turnover and general income to all race clubs, we have to look at the situation of maintaining such a big area of land.

“We have got to maintain an area of 12 hectares, or near-enough, to be able to conduct one race meeting a week.

“The overheads now for the upkeep of this big place have become so high that we have to look at getting rid of any land that is in excess to our club's operation.”

Border Park is one of the few greyhound racing clubs to own its own freehold land, having bought the title from the Federal Government in 1965.

Although the property is in NSW, Mr Pledger said when the club “let it be known we wanted to dispose of all the land that is in excess” it was the Gold Coast Council which made an approach.

The Council owns the adjacent Kirra Tourist Park caravan and camping complex immediately north of the border and Gold Coast City lacks sporting fields for its southern-most suburbs.

A spokesperson said Gold Coast City Council had resolved on August 31 to continue negotiations with the club, “including options associated with co-location” and canvas the possibility with Tweed council of “the shire jointly funding purchase of the site”.

Cr Polglase said Tweed council had been talking with Gold Coast council about the acquisition.

“If you really want to accept the words Twin Towns it means we really have two towns together,” he said.

“What they are looking at would be available for use to everybody. Both Tweed Shire and Gold Coast are lacking sporting fields in that area.

“We often hear people say take the border away. This is a great example of that.”

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