Clean up in full swing at Westport Trotting Club HQ
By Dave Di Somma - Harness News Desk
Work is well underway to fix the damage to Westport’s Patterson Park following last month’s devastating floods.
“It was a one in 100-year event, the last time the Buller River did that was in 1926,” says long-standing Westport Trotting Club committee member John Rogers, who’s overseeing the repairs, “every stable was affected.”
“The good news from all this is that the flood protection schemes will have to be upgraded because of this.”
The worst hit parts of the racecourse were the bar under the grandstand and the tearooms/kitchen area.
“There’s a commercial kitchen in there which we lease out for the people making school lunches so that is a priority, “ says Rogers, “we had good insurance and that includes loss of income.”
There will be extensive re-gibbing in both buildings, as well as new carpets and vinyls, and a fresh paint job.
“But first all the timber framing has to be dried out – it’s a big job.”
Hundreds of houses in Westport and surrounding areas were damaged and Trotting Club committee members were not immune.
“Five or six were evacuated, some are back in their houses, some are not,” says Rogers.
Thankfully for the club the racetrack itself did not sustain any lasting damage.
“Five or six days afterwards we could have run on that track,” says Rogers.
The whole complex will be good to go for the first of its race days this year, the hugely popular Boxing day meeting when thousands head to Westport for one of harness racing's biggest race days of the year.