New kitchen and dining development plans at Gunnedah Jockey Club have received a tick of approval from Gunnedah Shire Council.

Council has agreed to allocate a $30,000 grant from its Reserve Management Fund as a co-contribution for the club towards a grant application for planned developments at Riverside Racecourse. 

The jockey club is proposing to construct a new transportable kitchen and an elevated, air-conditioning dining room facility located on the southern side of the main grandstand to allow views over the race track.

Jockey club president Kevin Edmonds said the existing building is 40-50 years old and has been heavily affected by repeat flood events.

“The kitchen and dining area has been flooded three times in the last 18 months,” he said.

“We have had professionals look at it and tell us it’s not worth fixing up.”

Mr Edmonds said the existing kitchen facility does not meet the food standard requirements. As a consequence, all current food preparation must be undertaken off site and transported to the venue.

“That doesn’t work [well], especially when you have 400 people to cater for like we had just before Christmas,” Mr Edmonds said.

The new kitchen will be elevated from future flooding and will be added to the permanent dining area once complete.  

Mr Edmonds said the development will be built in stages and the council grant will help fund initial design planning and drawings.

The club can currently cater for about 700 people but it is looking to expand capacity up to 1000 patrons in future years. Outside regular meetings, Mr Edmonds said the dining and kitchen facilities will complement large group functions at the venue.

Councillors also agreed to provide the jockey club with a letter of support for future funding applications regarding its upgrade project.

Gunnedah was recently named as one of almost 30 NSW race clubs  to host a qualifying race for the $2 million ‘The Big Dance’ in Sydney later this year. Winner of the 2023 Gunnedah Cup will be eligible for a start in the multi-million dollar race on Melbourne Cup day which is tailored specifically for country racehorses.
 

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