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Huge plans for Paeroa Racecourse

A mega centre, 100-bed motel, function centre, wedding venue and 250 homes are are some of the ideas proposed for Paeroa Racecourse.

WFT Finance & Investment Company has purchased the racecourse, revealing their plans for the 33.5-hectare property during a “chain cutting ceremony” at the racecourse on November 5. 

There will be commercial and residential development at the racecourse, where the Paeroa Racing Club held its final meeting in July, 2012.

The new owners of Paeroa Racecourse also plan to open it up for community use once again after years of being closed to the public. Plans for a return of the Rotary Paeroa V8 event, Highland Games motorhome parking and a new twilight market were announced for the run-down site, which will be fully refurbished.

The Wright Family of Tauranga are the shareholders of WFT Finance & Investment Company and are also behind The Wright Family Foundation, a charitable trust nationally recognised for the particular focus family matriarch and foundation trustee Chloe Wright has placed on mothers and children’s wellbeing.

Wayne Wright said the family’s long-term vision of the racecourse property was to create a vibrant commercial hub over about half the land and a residential subdivision on the balance.

“The racecourse has a proud legacy of serving the Hauraki district and we intend that the site maintains that legacy,” he said.

“This is a first step in quite a long process, we’ll continue to develop concepts and ideas over the next year with the aim of providing long-lasting employment opportunities for the region. Currently, we’re in talks to open up the old stables to host a community farmers market and the planned refurbishment of the existing facilities could create a dedicated wedding and special events space.”

WFT Finance & Investment Company have engaged Paeroa resident and Longridge Country Estate retirement village developer and co-owner Tim Bartells to oversee a comprehensive program of rezoning and consenting the landmark property.

Mr Bartells said they had big plans for the space though details were yet to be determined. However, their plans were all subject to Iwi, the community and Hauraki District Council as the property would need to undergo a zoning change from recreational to commercial/residential, he said.

“When we talk to the community, there’s a lot of nostalgia so we want to give community buy-in,” he said.

Hauraki Mayor Toby Adams said there was a real need for investment in facilities and the proposed new development offered an exciting future economic benefit to the region.

“It’s still very early days and there is still a formal process to be followed for re-zoning and consenting but I’m allowing myself to feel a little bit excited about this fresh start,” he said.

Over the coming months and into the New Year, the development team at the racecourse will be meeting with the local community, talking to residents and iwi, and firming up development plans for submission to council.