Canberra Racing's proposed redevelopment of their Thoroughbred Park precinct would deliver a $1 billion boost to the ACT economy, provide more than 2000 jobs and could support 3200 dwellings.
The race club's chief executive Andrew Clark said it was also a vital cog in ensuring its long-term financial future.
The Canberra Times exclusively obtained details of Canberra Racing's master plan through a freedom-of-information request for new ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury's portfolio brief.
It gave a broad outline of the proposal, which would contain a mixture of residential and commercial zones.
A hotel and aged-care facilities were also potentially part of the development, which was designed to take advantage of the light rail route through Mitchell.
While the development's still in the early stages of planning, the completed business study revealed it would be a massive boost to the ACT's economy.
"[The] Thoroughbred Park precinct master plan proposes the consolidation of its facilities for the racing club and the release of underutilised land in the Thoroughbred Park precinct for residential development," the brief stated.
"[Canberra Racing Club] has estimated that the development could support 3200 dwellings, delivering $1 billion in gross value-added economic activity and 2039 jobs to the Canberra economy. CRC is developing a business case in relation to the master plan."
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Thoroughbred Park's currently zoned as NUZ1 for broadacre usage, but Mr Clark said they would look to change part of that to CZ5 (commercial) and RZ5 (residential) to allow the development to go ahead.
Their external investigation studies should be completed by February, when community consultation begins and runs through until April.
It's a long-term project where the racing club will work with the planned EPIC redevelopment to help revamp the area surrounding the light rail.
Mr Clark hoped their final submission would gain government approval within three years, with the staged construction completed in 12-15 years' time.
He said there were four key reasons behind the proposal:
- to ensure the club's financial sustainability;
- to enhance the race-day experience through rejuvenating their facilities;
- to create a mixed-use residential and commercial precinct; and
- to help improve horse welfare, security and training.
The development would see the horse stables relocated from their current position along Randwick Rd into the centre of the track.
Mr Clark said similar redevelopments were being undertaken at Brisbane's Eagle Farm and Moonee Valley in Melbourne.
"The next step is the step we're currently working through, which is to vary the Territory Plan," he said.
"At the moment we're doing the site investigation and the planning reports that are required to go through that variation process.
"Our community consultation process starts in February through to April in 2021 and we're really keen to hear what the community has to say so that all of our plans can take their views into consideration.
"It is a vital element in our future. We're looking to develop the site to be financially sustainable on a site that's recognised as a modern racing and entertainment precinct, looking to provide for the expansion and growth of thoroughbred racing here in the ACT.
"The site is definitely well placed in [respect to the light rail]. We're very close to the city, there's two light rail stops nearby. Northbourne Avenue, Mitchell and Dickson employment centres are also in close proximity to us at Thoroughbred Park."
When asked about whether the government was open to residential development along the light rail, a spokesperson for ACT Planning Minister Mick Gentleman indicated the proposal would need to align with their planning strategy.
The government wants 70 per cent of new housing to fall within Canberra's existing footprint and along major transport routes.
Canberra Racing's proposal ticks both of those boxes.
Mr Gentleman hasn't spoken to the racing club about the development.
"The ACT planning strategy 2018 establishes the principles for managing future growth of our city," the spokesperson said.
"To achieve this, the strategy identifies that 70 per cent of all new housing is to be within our existing urban footprint, by increasing residential density in appropriate locations.
"The planning strategy identifies urban intensification areas where growth will be focused and this includes town and group centres, and along major transport routes.
"The planning strategy and the city and gateway urban design framework also outlines directions for development opportunities in the city and along Northbourne corridor.
"The planning strategy outlines the principles for growth that support Canberra as a compact, efficient and sustainable city, and builds on opportunities to maximise infrastructure and access to services."