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ADDINGTON TROTTING GROUNDS

 

YEAR: 1994

Housing Development (HRNZ offices in background).
ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE

While Addington will always have a raceway, it is actively pursuing other business ventures. The plan they have underway at present, and looking quite promising at this stage, is the proposal to develop a sports and entertainment centre between the tea kiosk and the entrance turnstiles.

Addington Raceway Ltd is well down the track on this project, which Chief Executive Officer Mike Godber says is now in the hands of the City Council. He said the Raceway should know by the end of July whether the Council will go with the plan rather than one at Lancaster Park, which is also campaigning for such a centre.

The idea for a sports and entertainment centre at Addington Raceway began two years back when Trustbank saw a gap in the market for a large stadium to host major sports events. Trustbank told the Council it was willing to put money up for a decent facility. The Council then approached a Brisbane consultancy company, which, after considering 11 potential sites, recommended Addington Raceway. That was nearly a year ago.

For some months after that, little progress was made. Then, the Addington Raceway directors made a bold move, putting together a detailed plan and funding proposal for the Council to consider. "We gave them quite a surprise by doing that and I think they were impressed. Part of out strategy was to gain coverage of our proposal on the front page of the Christchurch newspapers, and we did this. And to back our submissions, we had all the support from tennis, netball and basketball organisations," said Mr Godber.

Mr Godber said the project was aimed at fitting into the Council's budget. He said the cost of the centre would be $17.7m of the $26m budget provided by the Council in its draft annual plan. The centre would hold 7800 for concerts, 5000 for arena events, and the floor space would be 5100 sq m. The advantages of the site are its colse proximity to the centre of the city, ample car parking, readily accessible to all modes of transport, and plenty of room to put the 11,050 sq m building.

For harness racing there will be benefits, but Mr Godber says the Raceway is basically in it for business. "We have 32 race days and 25 trial days, which leaves about 310 days. In today's economy, we cannot leave these facilities with nothing happening. One of the key forces in this is TAB profit, and how in the last three or four years it has levelled off. I can't see it going up significantly, so we have got to look at business opportunities to hold that loss for a start," he said.

What Mr Godber can visualise is that families who are at the entertainment centre for the night, take in the last two or three races before they go home. "It is going to raise the awareness of Addington Raceway," he said.

While the Raceway directors await developments in that area, work is well underway in the subdivision of land in the south-west corner. This is the part where cars could park on the busy days - Cup Day and Show Day. Not now.

From 4.22ha, the Raceway is selling 49 sections. "We only use the land once or twice a year. The clubs had to go into overdraft to build the new stand, and with the new lights costing $280,000, we didn't want to add to that. "It is going to improve the financial position of the clubs," said Mr Godber. He said the Raceway would still be providing more car parks than any other sporting venue in Christchurch.


Credit: Mike Grainger writing in HRWeekly 29Jul94

 

YEAR: 1950

ADDINGTON FACILITIES circa 1950

Credit: NZ HRWeekly 26Jun91

 

YEAR: 1910

ESTABLISHMENT COSTS

Over £30,000 ($30m today) was spent on improvements to Addington in its first 10 years, money which put harness racing in Canterbury at the top of the tree. But it wasn't spent on the track. Fred Holmes won the contract to construct that for just £800.

Credit: David McCarthy writing in HRWeekly 28 Mar 2012

 

YEAR: 1900

In December 1900 Mr G H McHaffie, who was not only a Committeeman of the NZMTC but also a member of the NZ Trotting Association, expressed the view that the three Trotting Clubs around Christchurch should combine to form one strong central body racing at the Metropolitan’s course at Addington. He was of the opinion that a great deal would depend on the attitude of the Colonial Secretary but that if Plumpton Park and New Brighton Trotting Clubs were to throw in their lot with the Metropolitan Club such centralization could only be of gain to the sport. An amalgamation of the three Clubs would rub off all the corners and place the Metropolitan Club in a sound financial position and enable it to make many improvements which would be of direct benefit to the public.

Credit: NZMTC: Historical Notes compiled by D C Parker

 

YEAR: 1899

The New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club conducted its inaugural meeting at the Addington Racecourse, now known as Addington Raceway, on Monday 6th November, 1899.

On Tuesday 22nd June of that year a resolution by the Lancaster Park Amateur Trotting Club that the name of the newly formed Club be changed from the Lancaster Park Amateur Trotting Club to the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club to mark the beginning of a new era in Trotting.

Credit: NZMTC: Historical Notes compiled by D C Parker

 

YEAR: 1899

Having decided, at a meeting of the Committee held on 22nd June, 1899, to proceed with the development of its own venue, the Lancaster Park Amateur Trotting Club completed a 21 year lease as from 1st June 1899 of 36 acres, one rood and 30 perches from the Charitable Aid Board, the beneficiary under the Twigger Estate. The Club changed its name and arranged for plans to be prepared for the provision of Stands and other necessary amenities.

Mr F J Barlow was appointed Architect on 22nd June 1899 and was instructed to submit plans for a track and buildings. Following the approval of the plans, a contract for fences and stables was let to Mr James Rowe at £580. A contract was also let for the building of a totalisator house, judge’s box and entrance gates. The laying of the track and improving Jacksons Creek for drainage purposes was left to the Architect to make the best arrangements possible.

A sub-committee was appointed to arrange with the Architect for the erection of seven bays of a Grandstand at a cost not to exceed £900. Money however, was a problem. But an anonymous offer was received to loan the Club £300 interest free for twelve months on condition that a Grandstand was erected immediately. It was subsequently learned that the anonymous offer, which was accepted, was made by the Club’s Secretary Mr A I Rattray. It was decided that half the stand be erected if it could be done for £1,150 and also that the necessary stabling and toilet facilities be completed at a cost of £65. At the same time a horse and dray were purchased together with the equipment required to maintain the track.

It was reported in the NEW ZEALAND REFEREE of 20th September that the Club’s new grounds wore a busy appearance as the contractor for the formation of the track had half a dozen horse teams at work excavating and filling and a considerable amount of soil was removed to make the track level. The totalisator house was a rather substantial building and was of an up-to-date character. As the foundations for a section of the Grandstand were laid and building materials were on the site, it was anticipated that the work would be completed in time for the proposed inaugural Meeting on 6th November 1899. It was realized that at least a season would be required to get the whole property in order and when this was done it would be hard to beat as a Trotting property.

A report by the correspondent “Spectator” in the NEW ZEALAND REFEREE of 25th October 1899 stated:

“I visited the new grounds and my first thought was of the new track. The entire width had been rolled no less than seven times with a three ton roller and was fairly solid considering the amount of filling necessary to bring it up to its required level. The turns had been banked and there would be a drop of nearly four feet from the top end of the track to the winning post. The new track is a full chain wide and five furlongs in length and the turns could be easily negotiated although the straight may seem rather short to some. I took the liberty of jogging my horse once round the track in something slower than a two minute gait and then had a look at the buildings and enclosures. The Totalisator house is built on such a scale that few Totalisator buildings in New Zealand are equal to it. Though it is situated well back from the Grandstand it should prove very convenient as it will be approachable by those inside and outside the paddock enclosure. A section of the Grandstand is completed to a stage where it will seat a large assemblage although it is far from finished. Boxes and stalls will be ready for use and picket and dividing fences finished. The grounds will have a bare appearance but the Club will keep on working and improving it and it will not be long before they can turn their property into one of the beauty spots of Canterbury”.

Credit: NZMTC: Historical Notes compiled by D C Parker

 

Having decided, at a meeting of the Committee held on 22nd June, 1899, to proceed with the development of its own venue, the Lancaster Park Amateur Trotting Club completed a 21 year lease as from 1st June 1899 of 36 acres, one rood and 30 perches from the Charitable Aid Board, the beneficiary under the Twigger Estate. The Club changed its name and arranged for plans to be prepared for the provision of Stands and other necessary amenities.

Mr F J Barlow was appointed Architect on 22nd June 1899 and was instructed to submit plans for a track and buildings. Following the approval of the plans, a contract for fences and stables was let to Mr James Rowe at £580. A contract was also let for the building of a totalisator house, judge’s box and entrance gates. The laying of the track and improving Jacksons Creek for drainage purposes was left to the Architect to make the best arrangements possible.

A sub-committee was appointed to arrange with the Architect for the erection of seven bays of a Grandstand at a cost not to exceed £900. Money however, was a problem

But an anonymous offer was received to loan the Club £300 interest free for twelve months on condition that a Grandstand was erected immediately. It was subsequently learned that the anonymous offer, which was accepted, was made by the Club’s Secretary Mr A I Rattray. It was decided that half the stand be erected if it could be done for £1,150 and also that the necessary stabling and toilet facilities be completed at a cost of £65. At the same time a horse and dray were purchased together with the equipment required to maintain the track.

It was reported in the NEW ZEALAND REFEREE of 20th September that the Club’s new grounds wore a busy appearance as the contractor for the formation of the track had half a dozen horse teams at work excavating and filling and a considerable amount of soil was removed to make the track level. The totalisator house was a rather substantial building and was of an up-to-date character. As the foundations for a section of the Grandstand were laid and building materials were on the site, it was anticipated that the work would be completed in time for the proposed inaugural Meeting on 6th November 1899. It was realized that at least a season would be required to get the whole property in order and when this was done it would be hard to beat as a Trotting property.

A report by the correspondent “Spectator” in the NEW ZEALAND REFEREE of 25th October 1899 stated:

“I visited the new grounds and my first thought was of the new track. The entire width had been rolled no less than seven times with a three ton roller and was fairly solid considering the amount of filling necessary to bring it up to its required level. The turns had been banked and there would be a drop of nearly four feet from the top end of the track to the winning post. The new track is a full chain wide and five furlongs in length and the turns could be easily negotiated although the straight may seem rather short to some. I took the liberty of jogging my horse once round the track in something slower than a two minute gait and then had a look at the buildings and enclosures. The Totalisator house is built on such a scale that few Totalisator buildings in New Zealand are equal to it. Though it is situated well back from the Grandstand it should prove very convenient as it will be approachable by those inside and outside the paddock enclosure. A section of the Grandstand is completed to a stage where it will seat a large assemblage although it is far from finished. Boxes and stalls will be ready for use and picket and dividing fences finished. The grounds will have a bare appearance but the Club will keep on working and improving it and it will not be long before they can turn their property into one of the beauty spots of Canterbury”.

Twelve months later further considerable improvements had been made to the grounds while the area surrounding the Stand had more he appearance of a well-appointed garden than a racecourse. A driveway was formed with English trees planted on either side and some thousands of loads of soil were distributed and a lawn laid and colourful flowerbeds installed. To protect the race track a training track was laid inside the main track. Several alterations made to the Stand were greatly appreciated by patrons. A liquor booth and luncheon room was provided and it was proposed that anew totalisator house be built nearer the Stand and the present totalisator house be used as a tearoom. An article in the NEW ZEALAND REFEREE at this time gave credit to the Secretary, Mr Rattray, for the work carried out by him and stated that when visitors from other districts came to Addington in November the conclusion would be forced on them that the property of the Metropolitan Club stood far ahead of any similar body in the Australasian colonies.

The sinking of a deep well and the provision of storage tanks was undertaken in January 1901. By May of that year further improvements were carried out and the area which was previously the saddling paddock was converted into a member’s carriage paddock and the lawn was extended.

Sixty horse boxes were provided along the Showgrounds fence which were railed in with plenty of room to prepare horses for their events. A gate at the northern end enabled competitors to go straight onto the track.

By now £5,000 had been spent on improvements and it was estimated that another £1,500 would be required to complete the work planned.

The sporting correspondent for the NEW ZEALAND REFEREE in an article on 23rd October 1901 was very fulsome in his praise of the improvements carried out to Addington and wrote:

“Visitors to Christchurch next week will have the opportunity of seeing what can be done with the sport of trotting by men who are good sportsmen and also of sound business judgment. The Metropolitan Trotting Club for the past few years has been exceptionally fortunate in the Officers it has secured and it deservedly holds the position of the model Trotting Club south of the line. It’s Course and grounds are probably the fastest and certainly the finest of any Trotting Club in Australasia and the improvements made since the Club’s last meeting will make many of our leading Racing Clubs look to their laurels. Long stretches of sward, tastefully laid out flowerbeds, judiciously planted trees and shrubs, asphalted paths including the spaces around the totalisator as safeguards against wet weather, handsome stands and a pretty teahouse are among the conveniences and sights which go to contribute to the comfort and pleasure of visiting patrons. A better sight of the races will be obtained on account of the erection of a high galvanized iron fence around the back of the Course which throws the horses and riders into stronger relief. The outside public has received a share of consideration in the recent improvements. It is worth noting that while the Club has been improving its grounds, it has also been wiping off its indebtedness and increasing stakes. Its present position is a remarkable example of what may be done with a sport when the management of it falls into good hands”.

In May 1904, improvements were carried out to the saddling paddock area which was re-sited and forty new boxes erected, the old ones being dismantled. The fences surrounding the paddock were so arranged that both outside and inside patrons could see the horses being saddled up. The new paddock covered over three quarters of an acre and greatly added to the appearance of the grounds. A caretaker’s cottage was built near the main entrance thus enabling someone to be in attendance at the grounds at all times. The racetrack was reformed and the new composition contained a big proportion of loam which it was anticipated would give a better footing than previously while the slope on the track would help to keep it dry in bad weather. However, bad weather and rain hampered the reforming of the track turning it into quagmire in places, the back straight in particular, being knee deep in mud. Everything possible was done to get the track into fair order and several teams of horses were engaged in walking round and round with harrows being used almost daily.

Having been successful in leasing an additional 17 acres from the Charitable Aid Board, steps were taken in the second half of 1909 to carry out major improvements to the property. Surveyors were engaged to plan a six furlong track and in August of that year, Messrs S and A Luttrell submitted a comprehensive plan for future developments. The plan included the provision of a new totalisator house, a public grandstand, horse boxes, new boxes for member’s carriages, eight acres of lawn, three lakes with the new Course of six furlongs.

A feature of Luttrell’s plan was the utilization of Jacksons Creek to provide a lake along the western boundary running from near the track towards the front entrance. Two sections only were completed at the track end with the balance of the creek as a culvert. The Club’s caretaker, Mr J French, was instructed to proceed with the construction of the new six furlong track which was used for the first time on 10th February 1910.

In August of 1912, further works were authorized and these included extensions to the saddling paddock and stalls, bridges over the lake and a roadway to the outside enclosure.

In February 1913, the Charitable Aid Board agreed with the Waimairi County Council to surrender a strip of land one half chain wide along the Wrights Road frontage to allow for road widening. The Club agreed with the proposal.

With improvements always in mind, the fence along the back of the track was painted white enabling patrons to see the horses more clearly. In the past, it had been difficult in some lights to distinguish the competitors on that part of the Course.

In October 1913, it was reported that a strip some 40 feet wide had been secured along the back straight enabling that part of the Course to be widened thus improving the two mile starting point.

In March 1914, the Club came in for criticism because of its decision to close the race track for training operations. The view was expressed that the Club’s duty in the interests of the sport was to provide reasonable facilities for training and it could not confine its attention to the holding of Meetings.

In May 1915, the ownership of the Moule Street frontage enabled the Committee to carry out further extensive alterations to the property. At that time the horse stalls were moved to a new position further west making more room available for the outside public. The inside totalisator house was doubled in size and a motor paddock provided for Members.

In October, 1920 the Club decided to make alterations to the entrances for motorcars in an effort to eliminate traffic congestion and it was decided that motorcars plying for hire should not be allowed to enter the grounds but were provided with parking outside the gates.

The need for a hub board round the inside rail was frequently raised by the Canterbury Owners and Breeders Association and following an approach by the Association the Committee decided that they would accede to its request and the wheel board was first used at the 1922 Easter Meeting.

With Canterbury Park holding the lease from late 1922 a joint Grounds Committee was set up and future developments were a matter for both Clubs approval.

In December 1922 the Canterbury Owners and Breeders Association put forward a suggestion to the two Clubs that a subway under the track be constructed to provide patrons with access to the centre area rather than allowing them to walk across the track while horses were doing their preliminaries. It was suggested that while the subway would be a costly undertaking the Clubs should put the work in hand before a fatal accident occurred.

In April 1928 alterations to the turn out of the front straight were carried out and the drivers were satisfied with the improvement and the alterations resulted in more room being provided for patrons in the outside enclosure. It was hoped that this additional space would eliminate the need for patrons to cross the track but the Easter Meeting proved so popular that the Club found itself short of outside accommodation and had to allow patrons access to the area inside the track.

The Grounds Committee which comprised representatives of both Clubs was instructed to ask Mr F W Freeman, Surveyor, to prepare plans for a subway under the track for public access to the centre.

In February 1929 the Christchurch City Council’s offer to extend the high pressure water supply from Lincoln Road to the Addington boundary at a cost of £175 was accepted by the Clubs.

In June 1939 the purchasing of land at the rear of the course from the Butler Timber Company was investigated and the Club’s Surveyor submitted plans using this land to provide a one mile track. The two Clubs held a three months option on the land and in July a Sub-Committee was appointed to go further into the question of purchasing the property and altering the track. Following the investigation, the Canterbury Park Trotting Club purchased the land from the Butler Timber Company paying 4/13th’s of the cost with the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club paying the balance of 9/13th’s. In January 1940 a deed was signed sanctioning the closing of part of Wrights Road with the two Clubs meeting the cost of the formation of the new road which became known as Halls Road.

In October Mr Freeman advised that as soon as the new road was formed he would complete the large plan asked for showing buildings, drains, etc.

In November 1941 the Committee approved the construction of a subway from the outside enclosure to the inside of the track but in the following month it was decided that due to the World situation the provision of a subway be postponed indefinitely.

In October 1942 the minutes of the Club showed that complaints had been received concerning the narrowness of the track in the back straight and the Club agreed to widen this section. In the following February it was decided that the back fence, telegraph poles, tanks and other facilities should be resited to enable the track to be widened.

It was later reported that the work had been completed and the back and home straights were now the same width.

As the suggestion that a one mile track be developed was not proceeded with the land at the back of the course was loaned, gratis, to the Housing Department for war storage, a railway siding was laid and the soil from that area moved to where required by the caretaker. The Department handed the land back in October 1945after the area had been cleared by the removal of the rail siding, telegraph poles and other equipment.

In conjunction with the building of the Counting House in June 1943 the open drain which was between the entrances to the inside and outside enclosures was piped and the area landscaped.

In March 1945 a suggestion from the Canterbury Owners and Breeders Association regarding an alteration to the Showgrounds bend was submitted to the Surveyor, Mr F W Freeman, who advised against the proposal. At this time a section of the lake behind the annex totalisator was filled in and a contract let to B Moore and Sons Ltd for £375 for piping the drain between the lawn and the saddling paddock.

Problems were being experienced with the racetrack and it was reported in September 1948 that both bends from the inside rail to four feet out had been excavated eight inches and clay from a section purchased in Marshlands was used to replace that which had been excavated.

In October 1949 subject to agreement by Canterbury Park an offer was made of £400 was made to the Canterbury A & P Association towards the cost of resiting some of their horse stalls to provide access to the Showgrounds and the Racecourse from Matipo Street. In December the Canterbury Park Trotting Club advised that they were not in favour of the proposal as the Canterbury A & P Association had not carried out its part of an earlier arrangement. The Canterbury Park Trotting Club was asked by the Club to co-operate in this request to the A & P Association so that the proposal could be carried out. In July 1950 the Canterbury A & P Association accepted the offer and the entrance from Matipo Street was completed.

In 1958 in an endeavour to improve the track it was treated with oil and screenings but in October prior to the Cup Meeting the NZ Trotting Horsemen’s Association stated that the track was not fit to race on following its treatment and an undertaking was given by Addington Trotting Course Ltd that the screenings would be removed together with as much oil as possible.

In June 1961 a further improvement was tried out and that was the installation of a lap bell at the top of the front straight and a relay buzzer in the Judge’s box to indicate that the bell was operating. The use of the lap bell was adopted and this Club sounded it over the public address system.

As the inside running rail was due for replacement Mr L S Smart, then President of the Canterbury Park Trotting Club and a member of the Directorate put forward a suggestion that a low rail should be installed. This suggestion was approved by the Club’s Committee and the Directors after viewing a sample authorized its installation. As was to be expected, the NZ Trotting Horsemen’s Association expressed their concern and opposition to the low running rail but they were advised that the Committees of the two Clubs had decided to proceed with its introduction on the basis of its approval by the NZ Trotting Conference.

Adequate water supplies for track maintenance and fire fighting were a major problem and in March 1963 the Waimairi County Council advised they would be proceeding with the installation of additional wells and a pumping station and the Council undertook to provide a minimum of 1,250 gallons of water per minute. The Directors had previously approved the installation of a main from the Council’s supply and this installation was approved by the Christchurch Fire Brigade provided a minimum of 1,250 gallons per minute was available for fire fighting and it was decided the main be extended to cover he horse stall area.

In September 1965 serious flooding of the track occurred and two units of the Fire Department had to be called to pump over 100,000 gallons of water off the track at the Showgrounds bend. As a result of this it was decided that the question of drainage of the track area should be investigated. In the following December serious flooding again occurred at the Showgrounds bend and the Course foreman discovered a sump leading into a nine inch drain under the track which was blocked with twitch and convolvulus. The clearing of the sump overcame the problem.

In December 1965 a suggestion from the Club’s Ways and Means Committee that the introduction of an outside enclosure should be investigated and a special meeting of Directors held on Monday, 6th December 1965 was called to consider the matter. A report and sketched layout by the Secretary showed an outside enclosure could be provided without, to any large degree, interfering with the general facilities which had been introduced for night trotting. However, it was decided that the requirements necessary for access from the No.2 car park to the turnstiles and for the provision of a Doubles Totalisator and catering facilities made the proposal impractical.

In February 1966 the McMillan Estate property on the corner of Moule and Leonard Streets was reported to be for sale and the estimated market value of the three roods and seven perches was £4,000. In September it was decided to make an offer of £3,500 but the beneficiaries of the estate considered that the offer was far too low. In the following March an offer of £4,000 was made to the McMillan Estate trustees. After further negotiations the trustees finally accepted the Company’s offer in December 1967.

In the latter part of 1966 interest was shown by the Clubs in the provision of a photo patrol to cover the racing at Addington and both Photo Finishes Ltd and Shipley’s Radio were experimenting with equipment suitable for night meetings. On the 11th April 1967 representatives of the three Clubs viewed demonstrations o video tapings of races by Photo Finishes and filming by R G Kennard. As both operators favoured towers of at least 50 to 60 feet high the matter was held over for further investigation. In December of that year the NZ Trotting Conference advised that a combined meeting of Clubs in Canterbury had discussed the question of the filming of races and that surplus NZ Electricity Department towers could be purchased for approximately £200 plus transport. The Club’s engineer Mr C E Fenwick advised that in his opinion the estimated cost of installing the 45 foot towers extended to 60 feet would be in the vicinity of £650. It was decided that the matter should be further investigated. In June 1968 Mr R G Kennard of Shipley’s Radio advised that for $170 per day for one camera he was willing to provide video recording facilities and his offer was accepted.

In July 1968 two towers surplus to the requirements of the NZED were purchased and quotations for their modification were received with the successful tenderer being Campion and Irving who quoted $1,138 with the estimated cost of two towers being $2,728. A problem arose with the erection of the towers as Campion and Irving could not commence the work for at least two months. At this stage it was agreed that Nuttalls Ltd be engaged to erect the first tower after a release of the relative part of the contract was received from Campion and Irving.

In December 1966 the question of the watering of the track was causing concern and the Chairman reported that an 18,000 gallon petrol tank with rear wheels had become available at a cost of £450 and that if eight wheels were provided at the rear of the cart it could also be used as a roller at an approximate total cost of £800. It was decided at this stage that the tank and rear wheels be purchased and in due course the new water cart was completed.

In May 1967 the Directors decided that a sealed walkway should be provided round the perimeter of the birdcage and if it should prove unsatisfactory the area be returfed. The first coat of seal was completed by the end of May and the second coat finished in pink Hanmer marble chips was laid at a later date.

In March 1968 as a means of off setting the cost of the closed circuit TV and the photo patrol it was decided that fifteen slides with 15 ten second spots per night each be introduced to gross an income of £225 per day. As a further means of earning additional income it was decided in April 1969 that the Directors investigate the possibility of the provision of advertising hoardings on the grounds but excluding the track area.

In May 1969 a jogging track within the Halls Road area was installed.

In December 1970 a report from the Honorary Track Supervisor, Mr B B Woods, was received in which he outlined the shortcomings of the track. He said that in places there was no track left to work, that the sub-grade in general had deteriorated and the drainage was insufficient to cope with the large asphalted area in front of the public stand. It was estimated that it would cost in excess of $30,000 to replace the sub grade and a further $5,000 to improve the drainage. There would be further costs incurred in providing a suitable racing surface as the right type of material did not appear to be available in Canterbury. It was decided that the matter should be investigated further and the Architect asked to assist in overcoming the drainage problem.

In March the following year, the Company Surveyor, Mr Middleton, advised that the drainage was the responsibility of the Christchurch Drainage Board as the drain near the Clarence Street Railway crossing reduced in size with the consequent flooding of Addington. It was decided to call for tenders to carry out the work necessary to improve the overall drainage and the Board was advised of the acceptance of their suggestions and asked that they expedite the necessary improvements to the drainage away from the Raceway.

In June 1971 sketch plans were prepared by the Architect for the overall development of the Addington Raceway property.

In July the Directors discussed the possibilities of developing the area between the Public and Members stands with the Architect who said the first stage would be the building of a new Stewards stand with administration facilities and the second stage would be the replacement of the existing Stewards stand with additional Members facilities.

As part of the track improvement plan the Course Superintendent submitted an estimate of $2,500 for completing a curb and channel under the hub rail. This work was proceeded with progressively and the track levels corrected as the curbing and channeling was completed. As part of the programme for improving the drainage three additional pipes were laid under the track to eliminate flooding in the Public stand and birdcage areas and pipes were also provided for TV cables and other circuits should they be required.

The outcome of the negotiations with the Drainage Board by the Company Surveyor was the provision of a new drain from the Club’s property to the Board’s drain situated on the opposite side of the railway and this drain would cost between $3,500 & $4,000. In March 1972 reports on a scheme to carry out track improvements were received from Mr B B Woods and Farrier Waimak. The estimated cost, including Surveyors fees, was $18,000 and the suggested scheme was approved. A tender of $5,879 submitted by Mitchell and Rodgers for the laying of a storm water drain from inside the racetrack to join up with the Drainage Board’s drain on the opposite side of the railway was accepted and completed at the tender cost.

Reporting on the track improvements Mr Woods stated that as there was a weakness in the subgrade between the mile start and the front straight it had been necessary to dig it up and fill the section with stablising material and re-lay the track top.

In July 1972 Mr Woods, who had just been appointed a Director of Addington Raceway Ltd as a representative of the New Brighton Trotting Club, in reporting on the progress of the work being carried out on the track said a further development was necessary and a decision made as to whether the clay should be covered with a bituminous emulsion and then covered with sufficient top to limit any possibility of damage to the bitumen surface. The possibility of stockpiling oyster shell was also investigated. The estimated cost of the renovation of the track was $16,500 and the bitumen emulsion a further $4,285.

In August Mr Woods said that the new drain under the track was completed, that the curb and channeling was well underway and prices totaling $16,425 had been accepted for the provision of clay and eighth inch grit to dust for the track surface. The spraying of the clay with a bituminous emulsion had been held over due to unfavourable weather conditions.

In October of that year Mr Woods reported that he and the Course Superintendent were concerned that the track material was not binding and that he had called for reports from Farrier Waimak and the Ministry of Works. Following tests by Farrier Waimak, it was recommended that 3/16th grit and lime dust should be added to the present material. Farrier Waimak were asked to lay a trial strip on a bend of the track approximately two chains in length. It was decided that if the trial strip was successful the whole track be thus treated. Following this it was agreed that Farrier Waimak re-lay the inside thirty feet of the track and the full width of the home straight in a similar manner to the trial strip.

In August 1972 it was reported in the Chairman of Directors Annual Report that a new training track had been provided in the centre of the race track and proved extremely popular with local and visiting trainers.

The sealing in the birdcage proved so successful that the constructing and sealing of a six foot wide strip the full length of the Queens Drive was put in hand in August 1973 at a cost of $1,860.

In December 1975 following consideration of a report on security, five sets of twin fluorescent street lanterns controlled by daylight switches were installed to illuminate the area between the front entrance and the rear of the stands during the night hours. As part of the security plan an alarm system was installed in the Office in February 1976 by Wormald Vigilant Ltd at a cost of $1,036.

In April 1976 a 2,500 gallon tank from a petrol tanker was purchased for $600 with the object of it being used in the construction of a new track watering cart.

In June the Members driveway was reconstructed and, for the first time, sealed.

In July 1978 Mr R G Kennard presented his method of electronic timing to the NZ Trotting Conference and in April 1979 experiments on electronic timing were completed and a request made to operate a system on a trial basis under race day conditions at the Inter Dominion Championships. The question of costs to be clarified with the NZ Trotting Conference. In September 1982 Race Finishes Services Ltd quoted $160 per race, excluding operators fees, for the provision of electronic timing in conjunction with photo finish equipment provided it was used 70 times a year. This was approved in principle by the Committee and a demonstration of the equipment was held at the Trials on the 8th December 1982.

In March 1983 it was reported that the reliability of one camera was not entirely satisfactory and it was decided that two timekeepers should continue to be employed until the system was proved to be satisfactory. In July Mr A F McDonald of the New Brighton Trotting Club advised that an alternative method of incorporating the electronic timing with the photo finish was being investigated by Mr Brian Nairn. In August the Secretary stated that the photo finish electronic timing equipment was in operation and apart from the need to rule in the finish line on the photograph the system was working satisfactorily. In May 1984 it was reported that Messrs Gavin and Rogers would be trying out their new coloured photofinish camera in combination with the electronic timing equipment in late May. In October of that year it was reported that due to a delay in completing the new system to be operated by the Judge it could not be installed it was hoped until just prior to the Cup Meeting.

In May 1980 the Chairman of Addington Raceway drew attention to the possible closure of the Christchurch Gas Works and it was decided that exploratory discussions be held regarding an alternative. In the following month the Christchurch Gas Co. Ltd advised that the supply of gas would be discontinued and that each consumer would receive three months notice as to when the supply would terminate. Following advice from them that the supply of gas would be discontinued late in 1981 the Directors decided to refer the matter to the Architects for a report. They submitted one from Weenick and Thomas regarding conversion from gas to another source of energy but the Architects were informed the Company preferred electricity. In May 1981 the Gas Company advised that the supply would be terminated at the beginning of September which left only thirteen weeks to convert. In June 1981 Weenick & Thomas reported that the cost of replacing gas with electricity would be $226,000. As this figure was accepted the Directors decided to approach the NZ Racing Authority to ascertain if the Company could be reimbursed from the Amenities Fund under the Annual Minimum Disbursement Scheme. However in August the Authority advised such a claim could not be allowed under the scheme. In view of this it was decided the Company should make a submission to the Authority for a loan to cover the expenditure incurred in the conversion. In October 1981 the Committee agreed that $150,000 be advanced by way of an interest bearing loan to the Company to fund the conversion of the Course from gas to electricity and the Canterbury Park Trotting Club offered to loan the Company $50,000 under the same terms. An application was then made by Addington Raceway Ltd to the NZ Racing Authority for a loan to cover the cost of the conversion and in January 1982 the Authority advised that a loan of $200,000 bearing interest at 8% was granted with full repayment being made within three years from the date of advance that was the 1st May 1982. This met with the approval of the Committee.

In March 1981 the property at 11 Lindores Street was on the market at $25,000. The Directors decided to make an offer of $23,000 and if accepted it be rented to a member of the staff at 10% of his weekly wage. In April it was reported that the house and section had been purchased for $23,000 with possession from 16th April 1981.

Following a suggestion the Directors decided to investigate the possibility of patrons when leaving the course instead of being issued with a pass out check have a stamp placed on the back of their hands which would be visible under an ultra violet lamp. A decision was made to obtain prices for the necessary equipment and later it was decided that four infra red lamps at a total cost of $219.20 be purchased. In February 1984 the lamps were received and were to be introduced at the Canterbury Park Trotting Club’s meeting on the 10th February on condition that the scheme was fully operable.

In March 1983 the three Clubs agreed to offer the grassed area behind the Main Totalisator to Members for $50 per annum wit first preference going to those Members of the three Clubs who have prepaid their subscriptions and the second preference to those who are Members of the three Clubs. It was a recommendation that all funds raised by selling this area be transferred to Addington Raceway. The Directors raised the question of better utilization of the area of land to the west of the motorway and suggested that with the marketing expertise of some members of the Committees and the Stewards ideas could be forthcoming which would be a major revenue earner for the Company.

In August 1983 Shipley’s Video Systems Ltd offered $1,000 to the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club and $500 each to the Canterbury Park and New Brighton Trotting Clubs for a period of five years, in return for a contract between their Company and Addington Raceway Ltd giving them the sole rights to operate all sound and video systems at all race meetings and trials held at the Raceway. The Directors decided that this was not acceptable and the three Clubs Sponsorship sub committees were advised that not under any circumstances should they accept sponsorship from Shipley’s Video Systems Ltd under such terms.

In December 1983 verbal advice was received from the NZ Racing Authority that it would advance the Company $500,000 which would reduce the amount owing from the Amenities Account, the money to be used in meeting the next two mortgage repayments to the North Canterbury Hospital Board and to meet the cost of improving the drainage in the stable area.

The Directors decided at this time to investigate the purchase of a tower at a cost of $4,000 to be used for the televising of the back straight together with the additional cost of relocation, regalvanising and re-erection on the course. In February 1984 the purchase of the tower from the Ashburton Trotting Club for $4,000 was confirmed by them which included its delivery but not the cost of placing it in position. In August 1984 two prices were received for the erection of the camera tower covering the back straight. The successful tenderer was John Jones Steel Ltd at $14,658.

In December 1983 a quotation from Farrier Waimak for the resealing of the Float Park at $8,000 was accepted.

In May 1984 the Committee approved the action of the Directors in continuing to negotiate for the purchase of the properties at No’s 3 & 5 Lindores Street and approved the expenditure for their purchase. It was then decided by the Directors that No.1 Lindores Street was of little value as a parking site and that No’s 3 & 5 could be purchased for between $39 and $40,000 each. It was agreed that the Secretary investigate the possibility of securing a loan of $50,000 and if forthcoming the Emergency Committees of the three Clubs be asked to approve the purchase of the two properties. In the following month Mr Cunningham reported to the Directors that he had ceased negotiations for the purchase of the two properties in Lindores Street as all the Clubs were not agreeable to the transaction.

In June 1984, following the representation from the Drainage Board on the overloading of the sewerage system on race days it was recommended that the Company’s Consultant Engineer investigate the problem. In the following month Mr Ford of Powell Fenwick Partnerships suggested that a holding tank be installed to overcome the overloading of the drainage system and it was decided that the Secretary should liaise with Powell Fenwick with this in mind. In December the Drainage Board advised that they required the Company’s confirmation of its intention to proceed with the upgrading of the sewer system at an estimated cost of $40,000 part of which the Drainage Board had intimated it would pay. The Secretary was instructed to discuss the degree of liability of the Drainage Board with the Engineers and report back to the Company’s Solicitors.

In October complaints were received from the NZ Standardbred Breeders Association regarding the hardness of the track and inquiring whether resurfacing was being considered by the Directorate. The Association was advised that the track was prepared for Race Meetings and not Trial Meetings and that it was the opinion of the Directors that the Addington Track still rates among the best in the Southern Hemisphere.

In March 1986 the Directors were asked to investigate the possibility of conducting a computer survey to establish the optimum track size and shape to improve the quality of one mile racing. After investigation it was agreed there be no alteration to the track.


Credit: NZMTC: Historical Notes compiled by D C Parker



In the event that you cannot find the information you require from the contents, please contact Colin Steele in the Racing Department at Addington Raceway.
Phone (03) 338 9094