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CLUBS PURCHASE ADDINGTON RACEWAY
The three clubs racing at Addington have negotiated to buy the 87 acres of the raceway for $1.1 million.
The clubs, combined under the wing of Addington Raceway Ltd, have leased the land from it's owners, the North Canterbury and Ashburton Hospital Boards, since 1947, when they signed a hundred year agreement. Announcing the proposed sale, the Hospital Boards said the final agreement was subject to Ministerial approval. The land has a government valuation of $750,000.
Under the terms of the lease, all the improvements on the land belonged to Addington Raceway but all the buildings would revert to the owners when it expired. The Board said the sale of the land was in the best interests of all concerned. It felt the return on its investment through the lease, about 2 or 3 per cent, was too low for the substantial investment involved. And the racing clubs, without security of tenure, would have no incentive to improve facilities on the Raceway, especially nearer the end of the lease.
At the end of the lease, the Hospital Boards would have the unenviable decision of asking the trotting clubs to relocate their activities, or renegotiate another lease with probably an unsatisfactory return.
At the special Pam Am Mile draw last week, Addington Raceway chairman of directors Bruce Woods said the move would remove any inhibiting factors in the future development of the Raceway.
Credit: Graham Ingram writing in NZ Trotting Calendar 2Dec80
In August 1911 a deputation representing the NZ Metropolitan, Canterbury Park and New Brighton Trotting Clubs waited on the Hon. D E Buddo, Minister of Internal Affairs, to protest against the reductions imposed on those Clubs by the findings of the Racing Commission. The Hon. Charles Louisson pointed out that of the eleven days by which Trotting had been reduced throughout the Dominion eight had been taken from the local Clubs and the Ashburton Club. The Minister said that the protest made by the deputation would be recorded but he was personally unable to do anything in the matter as the Commission had been set up by Parliament. Referring to the deputation the media expressed the view that the three Clubs were not well-advised to be continually worrying about the reduction of their days as together they had seventeen days racing, the Metropolitan Club having nine days and Brighton and Canterbury Park four days each. It was pointed out that of the fifty one days trotting for the whole of New Zealand the three Christchurch Clubs had no fewer than seventeen and that in spite of this they were still not satisfied. It was pointed out that the people were paying more for their sport at Addington than they did in the previous year and that judging from the decrease in stakes they were not getting such good sport for their money. The article went on to say that the Metropolitan Club had spent a large amount of money provided by the public in making a grand place for the sport of trotting but the Commission had pointed out that the tenure was unsatisfactory and recommended that the Club should acquire the freehold or the right to race permanemtly on the present ground at a fixed rental. Instead of asking for the moon, the article continued, the Hon. Charles Louisson and his fellow Committeemen should see whether they cannot obtain some fixture of tenure and secure for the people a permanent right to the enjoyment of the grounds an buildings which have been improved and erected at a cost of some £40,000 which money has been provided by the public.
Credit: NZMTC: Historical Notes compiled by D C Parker
The original leasehold of the Twigger Estate property dated from 1st June 1899. The Committee realized that a larger area was needed to develop the trotting grounds to their full potential and that ownership of the property was desirable. Some ten years later in May 1909 a sub-committee was appointed to investigate the possibility of leasing more land from the Charitable Aid Board or purchasing the property, or failing that objective being reached, obtaining a new lease of the original property together with an additional area.
In June of that year the sub-committee was empowered to finalise arrangements with the Charitable Aid Board for the lease of additional land and at the completion of the new lease the Club had the use of just under 54 acres.
In April 1912 further land was leased from the Board and this was used to provide a separate entrance for motor and other vehicular traffic. The Club continued its policy of obtaining land and in June an adjoining section on the frontage nearest Lincoln Road was purchased for £165.
In December 1913 the Charitable Aid Board was asked to lease to the Club the land in the hands of the NZ Loan and Mercantile Agency and in June of the following year a further 12 and a half acres was leased to the Club by the Board bringing the area to 66 and a half acres.
In response to representations the Committee recognizing its responsibilities to the owners and trainers secured the lease of 23 acres immediately to the west of the course and decided to lay down a proper training track in that area and to resite the horse boxes used during training operations. It was proposed that the training track be over half a mile in length and on up-to-date lines. In September it was reported that as lessor of the property on which the training track was being laid had objected to its banking, it had been decided that it would have to be practically level although it was felt that it would not be of great value for fast work.
In January 1915 sections were purchased near the entrance gates from T Fox for £430 and in May 1915 the sections purchased from Mrs Edwards for £850 completed the ownership by the Club of all property Moule Street thus enabling extensive alterations to the entrances to be carried out. Also during that year 3 acres were purchased from Mrs De Rigo for £1,000. This property was at the back of the course adjacent to the main trunk railway.
In July 1917 an offer made by the Secretary on behalf of the Club to purchase the grounds for £200 per acre was not accepted by the Charitable Aid Board. In June 1918 a sub-committee was formed to approach Charitable Aid Board and the Hospital Board in an endeavour to purchase the property but again the approach was not successful. The sub-committee was also authorized to acquire options over other properties if they deemed it necessary and in January 1919 negotiations were entered into for the purchase of Shands and other blocks in Riccarton.
As a result of the decision in 1922 by the Canterbury Park Trotting Club to transfer to and take over Addington it was necessary to obtain the acceptance of the North Canterbury Hospital Board and in November it was reported that the Board had agreed to the lease of the Addington property being in the name of the Canterbury Park Trotting club.
In November 1938 a sub-committee of the NZMTC and Canterbury Park waited on the Hospital Board for an extension of the lease.
In August 1943 it was reported that the Canterbury Park Trotting Club’s lease of the grounds had been extended for a further 20 years from the 1st January 1944.
In October 1945 Messrs A L Matson and C S Thomas interviewed Mr L B Evans, Chairman of the North Canterbury Hospital Board with the object of obtaining the freehold of the Addington property or alternatively of obtaining a long lease. Mr Evans advised that selling the Club the freehold was not likely but that he supported an application for a long lease. At a Committee meeting on 3rd March 1946 it was reported that a deputation consisting of Messrs C S Thomas, J E W Cross and the Secretary (Mr H E Goggin) had waited on the North Canterbury Hospital Board’s Finance Committee regarding the purchase of the Addington property or alternatively of obtaining a long term lease. The Board’s Finance Committee recommended that the Club be granted a 100 years lease and this was referred to the Hospital Board at the Meeting on 27th March 1946. The North Canterbury Hospital Board signified their willingness to grant a lease in perpetuity but in October of that year, as Canterbury Park had not advised the Metropolitan Club regarding the amount they were prepared to contribute for racing at Addington, they were informed by the Metropolitan Club that if the two Clubs could not come to a satisfactory arrangement then the Metropolitan Club was not interested in a lease of the Addington property in perpetuity. In due course the Clubs agreed on the terms to race and the long lease with the Hospital Board was completed.
In September1957 the Hospital Board agreed to an annual rental of £2,000 for the following ten years. In December 1960 new valuations of the Addington property were received increasing the valuation from £165,425 to £353,175 and it was decided that objections be lodged to the new valuations. In April 1961 the Valuation Department advised that their estimates of the new values of the property were correct and would be effective if no objection was made. The necessary objection was lodged with the Valuation Department. The Club recommended that Counsel be appointed immediately to prepare for the next conference with the Department on the valuation of Addington and Mr R P Thompson was appointed to this position. The Directors were asked by the Club to take steps to purchase the Addington property and it was left to Messrs Thomas and Hoy to prepare a case following finality being reached on the revaluation of the property.
In January 1962 Mr C E Hoy (Chairman of Addington Trotting Course Ltd) reported that he and the Solicitor had met the Chief Valuer and there was not a chance of finalizing the valuation without going to Court.
In December 1964 the Club Treasurer, Mr C S Thomas, raised the question of the purchase of the property and the Chairman of Addington, Mr J K Davidson, said that he and Mr Smart had been empowered by the Directors to investigate the matter. In the following July Mr Davidson said that with Mr Smart he was meeting representatives of the North Canterbury Hospital Board on Wednesday, 21st July 1965. In the following August Mr Davidson reported to his Committee that he and Mr Smart had met representatives of the North Canterbury Hospital Board and it appeared they were prepared to sell the property to Addington Trotting Course Ltd if an official approach was made. At the same time the North Canterbury Hospital Board advised by letter that they were prepared to enter into negotiations for the sale of the Addington property to the Company and in October the Board advised that it would shortly be in position to commence negotiations with the Company.
As a preliminary to the negotiations for the purchase Mr Davidson said that he and Mr Laing (Director of Addington Trotting Course Ltd) had met the Minister of Health in Wellington who said tat the purchase of Addington by the Company had his blessing and he undertook not to interfere in the price negotiations provided they did not contravene the Twigger Trust.
At this time new valuations of the property were received and the Directors decided that Mr J M G Johnstone, who had previously handled the objections, be requested to do so again. The Addington Chairman reported to the Directors that the Valuer, J M G Johnstone, with Mr Hoy (a Director of A T C Ltd) had been successful in obtaining a reduction of £20,500 in the valuation which meant a great deal in lessening the land tax and rates and also it would affect the Hospital Board’s rental when it came up for review. Mr Davidson reported to the Committee on his and Mr Laing’s visit to Wellington and said that he had had further discussions with the Chairman of the Hospital Board when he had pointed out that the Company was still waiting to hear from the Board regarding the question of purchase.
In March 1966 Mr Davidson reported that he had had further discussions with Dr Averill, Chairman of the Hospital Board, who had advised that the Public Works Department had been instructed to prepare a valuation of Addington and his Board would soon reply to the Company’s offer and asked that representatives of the Company meet the Board to discuss the purchase after the Board had received a valuation of the property.
In July 1966 the Company’s Valuer, Mr J M G Johnstone, reported to the Directors on a decision by Perry J in the Auckland Supreme Court regarding a dispute between the Auckland Rugby League and the Auckland Hospital Board over the leasing of Carlaw Park. Mr Johnstone pointed out that there was a long way to go before either the valuation or the purchase price of Addington Raceway could be finalized and he recommended that the objection to the new valuations be proceeded with.
In September of that year Mr Davidson reported that he had spoken to Members of the Hospital Board and pointed out that some 14 months had elapsed since Addington representatives had approached the Board regarding the purchase of the property and that over 12 months had elapsed since a firm offer had been made in writing. The Secretary of the Board advised Mr Davidson that they were awaiting a legal opinion on the proposed sale and Mr Davidson pointed out to the Secretary of the Board that the Directors of the Company wanted some action by Members of his Board.
In December of that year the Hospital Board advised that there had been some delay due to difficult legal matters but that it was hoped to arrange a meeting of representatives within the next four weeks. At the same time Mr Davidson reported that together with Mr R W Saunders, the Club’s President, and Mr L S Smart, Chairman of Addington Raceway Ltd, he had attended a sub-committee meeting of the Hospital Board at which the Chairman of the Board, the Chairman of the Finance Committee and others were present. The Company representatives were informed that the Board had been advised by the Ministry of Works to do nothing about the sale of the Addington property in view of the proposed motorway. Representatives of the Hospital Board were asked to put a price on the property irrespective of the motorway proposal but had intimated that they did not wish to take any action until the route of the motorway was finalized.
In February 1967 the Board advised that due to intervention by Head Office of the Ministry of Works regarding the proposed motorway it had not been possible to obtain a valuation of the Addington property as a basis for negotiations for its sale to the Company and the Board’s Finance Committee had given the whole matter further consideration and hoped to have discussions at Government level in the near future. Mr J K Davidson said that he would be in Wellington and would discuss the question of the purchase of Addington with the Minister of Internal Affairs as it had not been possible to arrange a meeting with the Prime Minister.
In May Mr Davidson said that he had waited on the new Minister of Finance, Mr R D Muldoon, who had advised that he had been put in the picture regarding the purchase of Addington but that as Minister of Finance he could not give any direct help and suggested that the Company keep in touch with the Minister of Internal Affairs. Mr Davidson said that the Minister of Internal Affairs had advised that if a directive from the Minister of Public Works to the Hospital Board was not acted on by the end of April then Addington Raceway Ltd should again refer the matter to the Hon. D C Seath, Minister of Internal Affairs who would take the matter up again with the Minister of Public Works. As no information had been received from the Hospital Board by the end of May regarding the sale of the property a letter was sent to the Hon. D C Seath asking him to implement the matter with the Minister of Public Works. In view of the delay regarding the purchase of the property the Company’s Solicitor was instructed to proceed with a notification to the Hospital Board of the Company’s intention to apply for an extension of the lease for a further term.
In the same month the Company’s Valuer, Mr A W Moyle, advised that he would be prepared to act in the discussion with the Hospital Board regarding the purchase of Addington. The Minister of Internal Affairs advised that the acting Minister of Works had informed him that a query had arisen regarding the lease of the property and had been referred to the Hospital Board’s Solicitors, and that the District Land Purchasing Officer on receipt of certain further information would complete his report on the sale at the earliest opportunity.
In October of that year the Hospital Board advised that they were no longer prepared to consider the sale of the property to the Company but were prepared to proceed with negotiations for the renewal of the lease. It was decided to engage Mr P T Mahon as Counsel to peruse the file on the negotiations with the Hospital Board for the purchase of Addington and that he be asked to give his opinion as to whether or not any suitable action could be taken.
Also in October it was decided to take further legal advice regarding the lease and to enquire the Company’s position in the matter of rental arising out of the lease after taking into consideration the decision of Perry J in the Carlaw Park case. Mr A M Cousens of Findlay, Hoggart and Cousens, Solicitors of Wellington, who was appointed to act as counsel, submitted his opinion regarding the lease and the Carlaw Park decision and this was referred to Mr C S Thomas for his opinion.
In January 1968 Mr W G Hadley was appointed the Company’s Arbitrator in the matter of the fixation of the valuation for the rental to be paid the Hospital Board. He said he was not prepared to act as a Valuer in regard to the rating objection which is to be heard at the Land Valuation Court. The Club’s Solicitor was asked to retain Me Mahon as Counsel and to ask him if he wished to nominate any expert witnesses for the hearing. The case came before the Lands Court on the 1st April with Mr Heddifern presiding. The Chairman of Addington Raceway who had attended the meeting said it appeared from the evidence that the decision would go the Company’s way but that in the meantime the Magistrate had reserved his decision.
In the following June the additional valuation of $21,500 which had been included on the chance of a change of zoning being approved was deleted from the valuation entirely and the Department and the North Canterbury Hospital Board both appealed against this judgment.
At the Committee meeting in December 1968, Mr P T Mahon reported on the outcome of the valuation appeal together with the judgment delivered by Tomkins J. Mr Mahon said that the Solicitors for the Hospital Board had advised they intended to apply to the Supreme Court for an interpretation of that part of the lease which deals with the assessment of rent as the terms of the lease are uncertain and without a court order there could be a dispute as to the principles upon which the Arbitrators should act in fixing the rental.
In March 1969 the Company Solicitor suggested that he be authorized to offer up to $2,000 additional rental to the Hospital Board through their Solicitors. This suggestion was agreed to. In May a letter from the Company Solicitor advised that the Solicitor for the Hospital Board had forwarded a proposal that the rental should be increased to $10,000 per annum. In December the Company Solicitor advised that the Hospital Board was not prepared to accept a rental of $5,008 per annum and the matter would proceed to arbitration in terms of the lease. As the Club’s Arbitrator Mr Hadley, had resigned due to indifferent health, it was left in the hands of the Company Solicitor and Counsel to appoint another Valuer and Mr A W Moyle was appointed the Club’s new Valuer.
In September 1970 a report was received from Mr P T Mahon outlining the arguments put forwarded by the Valuers and said that the Umpire had reserved his decision which would be received in due course.
In October the Hospital Board submitted an account for $20,277.06 being arrears in rental following the decision by the Court. In March 1971 new valuations were received and it was decided to ascertain whether or not they had been based on the court judgment. The Solicitor advised that a formal objection had been lodged against the new valuations. In June 1971 the Company’s Solicitor advised that following discussions with a member of the Valuation Department he held the view that the objections to the valuations should be withdrawn and the Company agreed to this. The decision of Judge Archer fixed the new rental at $2,782 per quarter instead of the $1,000 per quarter previously paid.
At the same time as the new rental rates were being finalized a new lease with the Hospital Board was executed on 2nd December 1970 under the name of Addington Raceway Ltd.
The Committee recommended to the Directors that investigations into the purchase of Addington again be made and at a meeting of Directors held on 30th June 1971 the Chairman said that he felt the approach to the North Canterbury Hospital Board regarding the purchase of Addington was a matter of timing and should be left until after the Local Body Elections. It was decided that the matter should again be considered in December.
In September 1975, Mr J R Hartley, Chairman of Addington Raceway, reported that he had discussed the question of the purchase of Addington with the Chairman of the North Canterbury Hospital Board who had undertaken to bring the matter up with his Finance Committee.
In October Mr Hartley stated that he had had further discussions with the Chairman of the Hospital Board who advised that the matter had been discussed with his Small Policies sub-committee which was reluctant to sell, the prime reason being that the income from the rental was trust money and they did not know where they could re-invest it as well as it is invested in the Addington property. Mr T C Grigg, the Hospital Board Chairman, said he felt the Board would not be legally able to do anything but invest the money in trust funds and if a way could be found around the problem the Board would still be prepared to consider selling the property to the Company.
In June 1977 the Company Solicitor advised that the lease fell due for renewal on 27th November 1977 and suggested that a sub-committee of the Directors meet a similar Committee of the North Canterbury Hospital Board to discuss the rental and the renewal. In November it was stated that the Hospital Board had not replied to the suggestion of a meeting. A sub-committee comprising Messrs H M S Dawson and T A Leitch was however appointed to act on the Company’s behalf.
In January 1978 the NCHB advised the name of its Arbitrator in the matter of the lease and the Company appointed Mr A P Faulls as its Arbitrator. In May it was decided that a hearing on the renewal of the lease was not necessary and the matter was left to the Company’s Solicitors to act in the best interest of Addington Raceway. In spite of the decision in May that a hearing on the renewal of lease was not necessary, arbitration was proceeded with.
In May 1978 it was decided that Mr T A Leitch approach Mr C E Hoy for a report on the potential of purchasing the property.
In January 1979 the Committee was advised that Messrs H M S Dawson and J R Hartley with the Assistant Secretary had met the Chairman of the North Canterbury Hospital Board and its Secretary, and that a formal offer to pay 70% of the total amount of the annual rental, irrespective of the motorway, as agreed to by the Arbitrators be made, without prejudice, as an interim measure until such time as the full extent of the land to be taken by the Ministry of Works had been determined. The amount was 70% of $22,000 per annum that is $15,400. The Company Solicitor was instructed to make this offer, through the Board’s Solicitor, Mr G H Gould, for consideration at the next meeting of the NCHB. In March the Directors were advised that the Arbitrators had approved the rental being $22,000 per annum and when accurate information regarding the area of land to be taken for the motorway was fixed the rental be adjusted as at the 26th of November 1977.
In August 1978 Mr Hartley reported that he had an independent survey carried out on the potential of Addington Raceway, if its purchase from the NCHB was possible, and that the property was now zoned residential B and recreational which could result in a substantial increase in the government valuation, and as a result heavy additional rental. It was decided that this matter be held over pending the arbitration on the rental being completed.
In March 1979 it was decided that an enquiry be made to the Hospital Board, with payment of the new rental, as to the price they would accept for the purchase of the property. The following May the Directors advised that the question of selling the freehold to the Company had been referred to the Hospital Board for a decision. Mr Dawson reported that the chairman, Mr T C Grigg has advised him that following a legal opinion, it had been ascertained that the Board had the power to sell the property. The matter had been referred to a sub-committee, and in the event of a sale it was possible the Board could assist with some finance. In September it was suggested that a feasibility study be undertaken on the financing and commitment to meet charges in the event of Addington being available for purchase.
In November the Company Solicitor Mr H P Smith advised that the lease with the North Canterbury Hospital Board was in order and ready for execution and that the rental would be $22,000 per annum. The Chairman, Mr Dawson reported to the Directors that he was having continuing discussions with the Chairman of the Hospital Board, regarding the purchase of Addington.
In August 1980 following a report from Ford & Hadfield Mr Dawson’s action in submitting an offer to the Hospital Board was ratified and it was understood that any offer was subject to confirmation by the Committees of the three Clubs. Later in the month a sub-committee comprising Messrs Dawson and Hartley was formed to investigate the purchase of the property and report back on the subject.
At a joint meeting of the three Committees in September 1980, the purchase of the property by Addington Raceway Ltd. at $1,100,000 with payments of principal spread over five years with interest at 12% was approved. In November the Directors advised that the final agreement and mortgage in relation to the sale and purchase of the Twigger Estate had been executed under seal, and that $50,000 had been transferred to the North Canterbury Hospital Board by way of deposit. The legal costs involved were $1,478 ad a draft media release, announcing the sale of the Twigger Estate to Addington Raceway Ltd. was approved.
In January 1981 the deed of surrender of lease with the North Canterbury Hospital Board was referred to Messrs Dawson and Cunningham for their consideration and if they considered its completion necessary to expedite settlement of the purchase of the land, they were authorized to execute the deed under lease. The purchase was completed and rental charges ceased on the 10th March 1981 whereon interest charges on the mortgage commenced.
In January 1984 the NZ Racing Authority confirmed that their advancement of $500,000 to Addington Raceway could be used for meeting the 1984-5 mortgage repayments and the cost of sealing the stables area.
Credit: NZMTC: Historical Notes compiled by D C Parker