As we celebrated our success hosting the 2019 IRT Interdominion series, it seemed unimaginable that within only a matter of months we would be facing a global pandemic, one that New Zealand would not escape unscathed.
Like the vast majority of other New Zealand organisations, we too have had to cut our cloth to fit the COVID-19 climate. To do that, we as a team have had to look deeply into what is a highly complex, multi-offer business where one size simply does not fit all: Our current activities include; large scale tenancies on land owned by the Auckland Trotting Club Inc, a major harness racing and public event venue, a training track facility based at Franklin Park in Pukekohe and a TAB, gaming room and sports bar.
With the continuation of physical distancing and curtailment around large gatherings, the short and medium future of events, functions and large-scale public experiences is at best, uncertain. With this comes a stark reality shared by many New Zealanders, and that is the process of re-evaluating elements of our businesses to determine what is sustainable, and viable. While an imminent return to racing will signal the beginning of our core business restarting, the social uncertainty and commercial challenges around functions and large-scale gatherings has compelled the functions side of our business into hibernation. This will enable the board and executive the time to further consider the future of this facility, what a functions future may look like, and more importantly, when we may see a return to this level of hospitality.
For now, our immediate focus is to support our core commitment to employees, the racing community, and to enable a return to racing for our human and equine athletes on a world-class track. This also allows our team to work hard on the things that we can influence and plan for what is currently unknown and beyond our control.
The decision to hibernate our functions business has not been made lightly, most importantly, because it includes highly valued employees, many of whom have been with the business for a significant time. Likewise, we put on hold highly valued relationships and loyal clients, but we also look forward to a post-pandemic world when we may meet again.
We are confident that the popular ‘The Alex Bar and Eatery,’ will reopen with a food and beverage offering when the relevant level permits.
In the meantime, our team will be reaching out to necessary stakeholders to discuss details as required.
CEO, Alexandra Park