Sitting beside the banks of the Bega River, the old racecourse was once a place bustling with punters. Now, with the future of the space up for debate, some community members want to see it restored to its former glory.
Bega Valley Shire Council were accepting expressions of interest on use of the land throughout September and Bega's Peter Turner, who has been involved with local sports ground committees for more than 30 years, said he feels the space should be developed into a multi-sport playing field.
"On one side of town we have the Valley Fields and the Roy Howard Oval with virtually no amenities and on the other side we have all these facilities sitting idle," Mr Turner said.
"Bega is struggling with amenities at sports fields, so it would be terrible to see the racecourse go to waste, or some other use. I see it as a golden opportunity to put a sports ground there.
"It has toilets, a grandstand, clubhouse and kiosk, so all the facilities are there we need."
Concept designs by Gordon Building Design include playing areas for Australian rules football, cricket, hockey, rugby league as well as a running track.
Mr Turner is asking interested community members and sporting clubs to meet at the Grand Hotel in Bega on November 11 from 7pm to discuss the concept.
Built over 150 years ago, the course was almost destroyed by the 1971 floods, and rebuilt by volunteers.
In the late 1970s $52,000 in funding from the NSW Racecourse Development Fund help construct the two-storey brick building containing a ground-floor public bar and first floor members' bar and other amenities.
The space has also struggled with vandalism since council purchased the 42-hectare track in 1999 after the Bega District Jockey Club relocated to the Sapphire Coast Turf Club track at Kalaru. A fire, believed to be deliberately lit, destroyed a wooden building at the site in the same year.
At the time a number of local sporting groups supported council's decision to buy the land, indicating they would be willing to make use of the site, and in 2010 council said the space should "return to being a major feature in Bega's culture".
"A lot of voluntary work has gone into sport in Bega," Mr Turner said.
"I strongly believe the ground should be saved for a sports field. I'm sure it would get plenty of use.
"The population is on the rise, and the site is walking distance from the growing Mumbulla School. This is a no-brainer.
Bega Sporting Complex Committee member Garry Ahkin said the racecource infrastructure is "deteriorating at a great rate", and agrees with Mr Turner's plans for the space.
"There's provisions for dressing sheds downstairs, there's no worries about parking space, it's got all you need," he said.
"There's also a lovely history here too.
"We are urging other sporting groups to attend the November meeting to consider the site."