The Shoalhaven Greyhound Club is the latest South Coast venue set to undergo major works in the coming months, with an upgrade to the racing infrastructure and track surface.
While just up the highway at Dapto, a community consultation process is underway before designs are in place for the new multi-million dollar facility due to be built in the next two years, works at the Nowra club will begin in mid-October. The major work at the track will be installing a new design post and rail system consisting of curved tubular posts, a new mounting system for improved safety, and the latest Safechase remote lure system.
"This is an important upgrade to the track at Nowra, and one that was desirable in the ongoing chase for the world's best standards," Greyhound Racing NSW chief executive officer Rob Macaulay said. "The work will commence on October 17, and the plan is to have the least impact as possible on the South Coast participants."
Shoalhaven Greyhound Club secretary-manager Glenn Midson said the upgrade was welcomed by all who race at the track. He added his club has decided to "do some additional work" in conjunction with the upgrades. "While we are out, we thought it would be a good opportunity to do some work on the track," Midson said. "We are looking at having new sand and improving the under base. We have a half-concrete track underneath, then half compaction.
"It was done that way years ago through necessity due to clay; now we want to get the whole track fully concreted underneath the base, put new sand on, get good levels and have everything ready for when we return to racing. And we're also looking at giving the place a freshen-up. We will be putting up new outside fencing and adding a new water system.
"Having a difference in the sub-base has meant that the water system, which was designed before that, overlaps at the wrong spots. It has become a pain trying to keep everything 100 per cent right, and we juggled it as best we can, but some of the days when it rains, it became even more of a drama. That has been our biggest problem over the years with washouts. One section would be a little bit wetter than the rest because it wasn't draining the same.
"The water system has been in place for 28 years, but getting the sub-base sorted this time gives us the chance to get the water system right, too."
With already stifling temperatures hitting the East Coast and vivid memories of the summer of 2020 when bushfires came to the bottom of Nowra Hill, about three kilometres from the track which was housing both evacuated participants and greyhounds at the time, Midson said they would prepare again as best they can, but sadly were at the mercy of mother nature.
"We have removed a few trees from here, but in the context of where we are, there is a national park across the road with plenty of trees, so there's not much you can do," he said. "We were very lucky last time. It was about 3km up the road; you are dependent on which way the wind goes or which way the fire is travelling. We dodged a bullet last time; it ended up going more west and headed up Kangaroo Valley. It was pretty worrying at the time, and I honestly hope we don't have to go through that again."
This article was produced as part of an ACM partnership with Greyhound Racing NSW.