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Taking care of business – a new look at Traralgon greyhounds

While plenty has been happening with the redevelopment of the Traralgon greyhound racetrack, quite a bit more has been happening behind the scenes.

With track redevelopment on schedule and trialling and racing likely to start in September and October respectively, many of the unseen changes to the back end of operating a successful sporting and community facility have been powering ahead. And it is many of the ‘unseen’ changes that will position Traralgon to be a force in Gippsland greyhound racing.

Among these intangibles is the club’s community commitment and engagement, where it provides Traralgon and surrounding clubs and organisations access to its new facilities for community activities.

Traralgon Greyhound Racing Club Manager, Steve Clarke, said the redevelopment of the track had provided the catalyst to make significant business restructuring moves which will go towards securing the club’s future.

“As with any business there are a number of fixed costs over which you have little discretion,” Steve said.

“It’s more a matter of how you manage these that determines the success or otherwise of any business. And it is addressing these fixed costs that has given us the opportunities to implement significant savings.

“An example of this is our electricity bill of $75,000 per year and then there is our water charges at $28,000. Both services are essential to the operation of the business and are set by local government and other agencies, so we needed to find ways of reducing these costs. We needed to change the way the club was structured.”

The redevelopment at Traralgon will see the introduction solar power and LED lighting, not just on the racetrack but throughout the entire complex. Instead of 24-hour a day refrigeration units, the club has installed a cool room to reduce power costs, with the installation of solar power providing significant reduction in the daytime cost of electricity.

“Greyhound Racing Victoria, its CEO Alan Clayton and the Traralgon GRC Board have been extremely supportive of our efforts in this area and with the introduction of solar alone we are looking at reducing our electricity cost by about 35 per cent – that’s a saving of about $18,000 a year,” Clark said.

“Part of our restructure was looking at ways the club better managed its funding from GRV which could ultimately result in these monies being directed to other initiatives such as increased prize money and infrastructure upgrades.

“Over the next five years we plan to double our solar capacity and by doing that and reducing our power consumption we are hoping to be cost neutral with our daytime power costs. All up we could reduce our electricity costs by up to 75 per cent.

“And it’s the same with water costs. We use a significant amount of water on race days for track safety and it’s all town supply. By doubling the capacity of our on-site dam and being able to supplement our town supply usage we expect to be able to further reduce these fixed costs.”

Then there is the community aspect of the new development. The Traralgon club has always been a host to a range of local sporting, social and school groups.

With the new upgraded facilities, the club has put a proposal to Latrobe City Council for a rate and rent reduction under the council’s policy to give consideration to reductions by offsetting the club’s community engagement.

The club has almost 30,000 people a year using its facilities on non-race days. Part of its community engagement will be the new super-size semaphore screen which will be made available as an outdoor cinema for community fund raising activities on non-race days.

As the days count down to its reopening, Traralgon GRC is looking to a winning future.

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