Ballina Jockey Club likely to get a new board this month
AN administrative board for the struggling Ballina Jockey Club is expected to be established this month, following "positive" meetings in Ballina this week.
Directors of the club resigned from their positions in March and Racing NSW assumed responsibility for the running of the club.
It was understood the club had debts totalling about $200,000.
Racing NSW Country chief executive Brian Judd was in Ballina yesterday and on Wednesday to meet with club executives from Ballina and Lismore, and to meet with five people who had "expressed an interest in being involved with the board".
"It was the first step to establishing an administrative board and we'll be having another meeting with those people on June 27," he said.
"We are not going to run the Ballina Jockey Club from Sydney.
"We want local people to be involved."
Mr Judd said Racing NSW had "corrected" the club's "unsatisfactory financial position".
"The new board will have a fresh start," he said.
"Once the finances and administration have been stabilised, we will move towards upgrading the track to an all-weather track."
However Mr Judd would not be drawn on a time frame for the upgrade.
He said it was likely the track would have to be closed while the upgrade was being done, and said it was important for the club to be in a secure financial position before that happened.
Meanwhile Racing NSW has also approved a "satisfactory" budget for the Lismore Turf Club for the 2013/14 financial year.
"We have been assisting Lismore with their financial planning," Mr Judd said.
"We are now confident that if the weather is good, Lismore should be fine into the future.
"I think things are looking very positive for both clubs."
But the former chairman of the Ballina Jockey Club, Dr Bob Jemison, said the community was being left out of major decisions.
He said upgrading the track to an all-weather StrathAyr track should be a priority.
"They (Racing NSW) have refused to fix the track for the past six years," he said.
"When you lose 18 meetings ... it's just impossible to survive.
"It's clear to me what needs to be done. First of all you need a track you can race on.
"Then you need to raise the profile of the club again and rebuild people's confidence in it."