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The long-awaited redevelopment of Eagle Farm and Doomben racecourses is a step closer to reality.

The Brisbane City Council has approved a $1.2 billion masterplan for a major redevelopment of land surrounding the two racecourses.

“There was a significant risk that one of these tracks would’ve been lost because of the recent industry hardships but importantly they will be preserved,” Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said.

“We’ve had the discussion with the community and there have been changes to the original plan after consultation with local residents.”

The redevelopment will start later next year after the winter carnival and could take two decades to complete.

“We’re not going to see an overnight revolution here,” Cr Quirk said.

“It will be an evolutionary development that will occur. It’s not going to be an overnight transformation.”

Brisbane Racing Club Chairman Neville Bell says obtaining council approval ensures the viability of the racing industry in Brisbane.

“We’re only going to get one crack at this development and we’ve got to ensure that the membership and these two racetracks are sustained forever,” Bell said.

“We’ve got to future-proof our metropolitan racing industry.”

BRC chief executive Stephen Ferguson says the billion-dollar investment covers the construction of all residential and infrastructure upgrades at the racetracks, including new grandstands.

“The positives over the long term are that the 400 horses stabled on course will be in a far better environment than they are currently,” Ferguson said.

“The remainder of monies will be spent on improvements to the racing surfaces including a complete revamp of the Eagle Farm course proper.”

The BRC will retain parts of the redevelopment such as residential and hotel facilities to generate long-term cash flow.

“Getting to this stage has been a lengthy process but we are now getting to the specifics such as building heights and other engineering requirements that can be sorted through,” Ferguson said.

Melbourne Cup-winning trainer John Meagher, who has a private training facility at Guanaba, halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, believes the timing is right for the redevelopment of Eagle Farm and Doomben.

“When I came back from Singapore I did a fair bit of homework and felt Queensland was heading the right way,” he said.

“The masterplan should ensure better prizemoney and better training facilities.”.

AAP TURF sjr/

 
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