The biggest issue is simply the evidence that points to the possible sell-off of Canterbury Park to residential developers in the possibly near future . The potential value of such a large piece of flat, undeveloped land in the centre of Sydney, next to transport and a town centre would be worth $Billions on today’s market if wholly rezoned for high density development so the temptation is immense and the evidence to show how close that has already come is frightening.
For us the challenges are many and complicated by the myriad of overlaying pieces of legislation governing the Racecourse and Racing industry in general, Planning laws at both local and State level, Strategic regional policies, Politics and whims of the Australian Turf Club Boardroom – any of which at any time can influence the future of Canterbury Park.
Right now, the most pertinent issues concerning Canterbury Park are ;
- A Development Application currently on exhibition DA-8910/1997B to decommission the Princess St carparking area of Canterbury Park racecourse,
- The expiry of the 10 year ban put in place by the State Labor Government in 2010 to prevent a “firesale of Racing assets” including Canterbury park,
- The outcome of a review by the newly formed “Canterbury Racecourse Coordination Committee’ to decide the future of Canterbury Park in the event the ATC might cease operations there.
The issue here is that while this DA seems faily benign onthe surface and only seems to be about relocating the carparking away from the Princess St car-park, it is not really about Parking at all. Even though the loss of that large car-parking area will certainly have an impact on local residents on race nights, and we oppose would it for that matter alone, it is actually about a large future residential apartment development that is planned on this land. The ATC have engaged Mirvac, a well know large scale developer in a joint partnership according to the ATC Annual report 2017 to eventually develop it into apartments.
The 10 year Moratorium protection
A 10 year Moratorium was put into force by the State Government in 2010 as a part of the Merger ACT legislation when it was realised that the new owners (ATC) were likely to want to sell Canterbury to raise revenue for the upkeep of Randwick racecourse. The moratorium expired at the end of 2020 so we are in new territory and the closure of Canterbury Park could be just a Boardroom decision away. The CRAG team are working with our local State members to request State MP’s to extend to the Moratorium for at least another 5 years, fingers crossed !
Canterbury Racecourse Coordination Committee
The Committee was established late last year after much lobbying by local groups such as ours for more certainty over the future of Canterbury Park. Chaired by the Commission’s South and Central City Districts Commissioner, Mr. Peter Poulet, with membership from key relevant government agencies and the Australian Turf Club, the objective is to form a Master-plan for Canterbury Park as a whole, rather than the piecemeal or spot development that is currently happening via the DA above. It is our hope that there will be an emphasis on freeing up much needed green-space for the surrounding communities, protections for the adjoining Cooks river and local Heritage suburbs of Ashbury, Canterbury and Summer Hill. It is early days by the end result will likely be a set of recommendations and Controls on where and what can or cant be built and how big which will carry thru in perpetuity or until such time as the Racing industry no longer needs it. Unfortunately though, the local residents are not invited to participate in this Committee, instead their views will only be expressed via a separate “Community Voice Panel” made up of a handful of selected residents ( Mayoral minute, July 2020).