Moonee Valley Racing Club has revealed ambitions to become Australia’s most sustainable sports and entertainment precinct, with plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2027 taking a significant leap forward with the recent approval of critical development permits.
Moonee Valley Racing Club will undertake a whole-site approach to environmentally sustainable design throughout the master plan delivery. The Club is targeting significant reductions in energy consumption across all facilities, including the new Grandstand and Clubhouse, which will consume at least 20per cent less energy than is required under building regulations.
Lighting upgrades will see LED lighting installed on the racetrack, further contributing to reduced energy consumption. The upgrade and operational management will improve the efficiency of track lighting by 52 per cent, saving the Club $400,000 per year. Over 3.5kWH of grid energy is expected to be saved by generating and storing electricity on-site, saving almost 3,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
The announcement follows the unveiling of a master planned sports, community and lifestyle precinct designed within the existing racecourse land in one of the most significant urban regeneration projects in Australian history.
Modernisation of the racing precinct, construction of a multi-function Grandstand and the creation of recreational, public facilities within the racetrack in-field are key elements of the master plan, which seeks to bring vibrancy to Moonee Ponds and be a major source of jobs and economic growth for generations to come.
“This is the most significant transformation in Moonee Valley Racing Club’s 140-year history. The landmark precinct will ensure Moonee Valley Racing Club’s relevancy amongst future generations of customers and the broader community alike,” Moonee Valley Racing Club’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Browell, said.
Permit approval for the racetrack upgrades and a revitalised maintenance precinct have now been received, signifying an important marker for the 10-year project as it moves into the delivery stage.
Racetrack upgrades include innovative techniques to improve water conservation on the site, such as harvesting water from stormwater pipes and capturing all excess irrigation water from the track. Moonee Valley Racing Club estimates the in-field areas will provide a major water catchment source for future stormwater harvesting.
The sustainability initiatives planned will also allow Moonee Valley Racing Club to target Green Star and EnviroDevelopment certification. A significant milestone for the Club, this will be the first time an Australian sports and entertainment precinct has been awarded certification in history.
Track expansion will increase the home straight to a new length of 317m, allowing for a longer duration of racing. The Cox Plate will commence from the top of the home straight, improving the visual experience for future racing spectators. The new Grandstand design will enhance the current track's unique “colosseum” effect.
When planning the racetrack upgrades, Moonee Valley Racing Club took equine welfare into high consideration, in line with society’s attitudinal shifts towards horse racing. Wider turns for horses on the new track will be within a range of 120m – 133m in radius, with a 3-4 per cent camber at the bends to provide greater safety for the horses running at high speeds.
"The realignment of the racetrack creates significant opportunities to modernise the horse racing operations, rebuild and upgrade facilities and implement more sustainable practices at Moonee Valley Racecourse," Moonee Valley Racing Club Chairman, Adam Lennen, said.
Racing precinct redevelopments will be complemented and activated by commercial, entertainment and recreational facilities. MVRC will leverage its event management expertise to deliver a curated calendar of events for the local community.
Planned amenity includes bar and dining venues, gym, wellness centre, day spa, and a new shared path along Dean Street, contributing to the local and regional bike network.
“An important aspect of the master plan strategy was encouraging visitation 365 days a year, to ensure the Club’s future viability.” Moonee Valley Racing Club’s Head of Property, Georgia Willis, said.
“We considered the evolving needs of the community and future customers, and how we could create broader appeal to these markets beyond racing. We identified that a wider, frequent offering would improve visitation amongst these groups,” Ms Willis added.
A focus on personalised experiences that cater towards community values such as ethical living, sustainability, health, and wellness have been incorporated into the precinct’s offering.
“The proposed outdoor recreation and running track will appeal to current and future locals who prioritise health and fitness, whilst outdoor play equipment will appeal to the increase in young families we’re seeing move into the area.” Ms Willis said.
A commercial offering will provide local businesses with the opportunity to participate in the reinvigorated precinct. During the planning process, the Club identified market gaps in the local retail offering, with survey results signifying local demand for a quality retail experience.
Upon completion, Moonee Valley Racing Club projects precinct visitation to increase by approximately 50,000 visitors a year, causing a positive flow-on effect to Puckle Street and nearby businesses. It is anticipated that a total of $1m will be injected into the local economy each year as a result.
“We anticipate the new precinct will provide significant economic uplift for current and future Moonee Ponds residents. It’s a game-changer for the local area and demonstrates our united commitment to creating a vibrant and thriving community,” Moonee Valley City Council Mayor, Pierce Tyson, said.
Construction and upgrades of the precinct are set to commence in 2025, with completion anticipated for mid-2027.