A recent timeline of events affecting Canterbury Park
2008: An application was submitted to Canterbury Council to build a Golf driving range and leisure facilities including gym etc – application was rejected in IHAP hearing at Council and plans were dropped due to the economic crash in 2009.
2009: Due to financial problems at the Australian Jockey Club (who manage racing at Royal Randwick and Warrick Farm), a report by Ernst and Young to the state government had recommended a merger of the STC and AJC, and also recommended the sale of the Canterbury Park to raise revenue.
2010: The Sydney Turf Club (STC) and the Australian Jockey Club (AJC) were forcibly merged to form the Australian Turf Club ( ATC) by the State Govt in 2010. The merger was incentivized by offering them $174 million in non-repayable loans, mainly to prop up the AJC.
2010 Fearing the immediate selloff of Canterbury Park, the State Govt included in the Merger ACT, a moratorium on sale or development of land for 10 years thereafter, the ACT was adopted, the moratorium will expire at the end of 2020. (STC and AJC Merger ACT 2010).
2014: A 3rd year review of Merger ACT requested by the ATC, who called on NSW governement to end the Moratorium early, Only the Breeders association objects, the ACT is maintained and request to end early defeated.
2015: Draft “Sydenham to Bankstown Urban renewal corridor Strategy” to blanket rezone land up to 400m from train stations for High density residential development and up to 800m for Medium density is announced by State Planning office. Grave concerns for Canterbury Park as up to 80% of Canterbury Park Racecourse falls within 800m, approx. 20% falls within the 400m zone out from Canterbury station.
2017: Final draft of Sydenham to Bankstown Urbn Renewal Strategy Plan released, plan included clause “Canterbury Racecourse should be considered for residential development“. Local resident groups launch campaign to encourage locals in Ashbury and surrounds to object to the State Plan for High Density rezoning immediately adjacent to the sensitive Ashbury Heritage Conservation zone and Cooks River habitat and wetlands.
July 2017: ATC Annual Report announces partnership with Mirvac, approves Mirvac as incumbent developer for Princess St carpark, , ATC borrows $10mil from Westpac for the project and pays Mirvac a retainer.
late 2017: Mirvac advertises apartment pre-release at Canterbury park over land where Princess St carpark currently exists
Oct 2017: ATC drops the entry fee for Night Racing meetings at Canterbury and introduces food trucks, kids and outdoor entertainment and dining at Canterbury Park to attract patrons, turns out to be a huge success, later that season crowds up to 8000 are recorded at Canterbury!
Dec 2017: Council mails a letter to adjacent residents after ATC launch the first Development Application (DA-8910/1997A) to decommission the Princess St parking area as surplus to requirements citing low numbers of patrons at mid-week and night racing events (however figure quoted date from before Night Racing became a free event!).
Feb 2018: local residents establish the Canterbury Racecourse Action Group (CRAG) as local and Racing communities fear further Canterbury Park lands sell off.
April 2018: CRAG investigations show Area 6 carpark consistently overflowing with cars during night race meetings and as such is not surplus land as ATC application claims, CRAG submits photo evidence and calls for Council to reject application, over 200 residents formally object to DA application including local members Sophie Cotsis, Jo Haylen, Jodi McKay, Tony Burke and Mayor Khal Asfour.
late 2018: ATC drops DA application after huge community objection and CBCC staff suggest inadequate evidence to support the application’s claims of low demand for Princess St parking.
Jan 2020: ATC attempts to close Princess St car-park late in the Summer Night racing Carnival season in order to build a report to prove it unnecessary to requirements in preparation for a new DA application.
Feb 2020: After numerous calls to Council and local members by CRAG, Council issues orders to ATC to reopen Princess St car-park to patrons just before the final Night race meeting at Canterbury, possible record crowd on final night of racing of nearly 8900 visitors reported by the ATC , Princess St car-park overflowing as usual.
June 2020: Mayor Khal Asfour in his Mayoral minute calls for a “Master-plan” for the Canterbury Racecourse, requests State appoint a committee to oversee the plan, CRAG calls for direct community participation but only results in creation of a separate “Community Voice Panel”.
31st Dec 2020: Moratorium on sale/development of Racecourse under the Merger ACT ends, ATC now have power to apply to sell or redevelop any or all land at Canterbury Park without the need to prove to the Minister it is surplus and not necessary for racing operations.
Feb 2021: Local member for Canterbury, Sophie Cotsis MP submits a Bill to Parliament for consideration to extend the Moratorium over Canterbury Park another 5 years, motion still pending…..