Council revises Wodonga racing leases

THE Wodonga Council will hand over the leasing of the training centre at the Wodonga Racecourse to the Wodonga and District Turf Club.

The council believes some training areas have been sub-let without its approval, exposing it to liability issues.

It will grant the club an eight-year “head” lease which covers secondary leases held by eight trainers at the centre.

The changes will lead to a fee rise for trainers.

The club and the trainers will further discuss the details of the new arrangements including the new fees.

Club manager Brad Thomas said the changes would give trainers long-term security and shore up Wodonga’s future as a training centre.

“They can invest in their business with confidence and if they want to retire they will have an asset to pass on to a young trainer,” Mr Thomas said.

“At present, they are on a month by month lease and don’t have the security to invest.

“There are always concerns about council-owned land.

“The council could decide at any time it needs that land for some purpose and take it.”

The council plans to collect 30 per cent of the commercial valuation of each premises under the new arrangements, staged over the initial eight-year leases.

It is also proposing three additional three-year leases.

While the club will negotiate with trainers on sub-leasing and facility improvements, council approval will be required for any changes.

The club will collect the rent and ensurer trainers don’t rent stables to other users.

The proposed changes will be advertised soon.