One year later, Canidrome still waiting for better days

One year since it closed its doors to dog races, the Macau Canidrome is showing signs of abandonment and decay.

Host to the occasional football match, the lone jogger, and track and field activities for the government’s ‘summer holidays’ program, the Canidrome today is far from the “glamor” of its golden years.

Saturday will mark the first anniversary of its closure, but it appears little has changed in the past 12 months. The site, not truly open for visits, is still waiting for better days to come.
In August last year, just one month after the July 20 closure of the greyhound racing track, the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) revealed the first plans for the Yat Yuen Canidrome land plot.

Around two-thirds of the total area would continue to be used for sports activities, including the expansion of the existing Lin Fong Sports Centre.

The plan, revealed during a meeting of the Urban Planning Committee, also disclosed that another 20% of the space would host education facilities, with the remaining 10% to be occupied by social services and government facilities.

In the same meeting, it was also revealed that an underground stormwater storage tank would be built below the sports facilities. This was included in the plan so as to mitigate the risk of flooding.

The plan also includes a parking lot with a minimum capacity of 400 parking spaces.

But such projects seem to be far from moving forward.

During a visit to the site yesterday, the Times found the land plot in a state of neglect and decay.

The former main gates are padlocked, and access can be attained only via the locker room for the football pitch. The dog racing strip and the nearby kennels show signs of neglect.

The last public developments to come from the project came almost eight months ago.

During the policy address for 2019, the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Alexis Tam, announced the four school institutions that would occupy the area of the plot designated for education purposes.

According to Tam, the Concordia School for Special Education, the Workers’ Children High School, the Escola Xin Hua, and the Escola de Santa Madalena, will be the institutions that will be located at the Canidrome under the government program “Blue Sky Project,” which aims to relocate some school institutions to open space areas.

Although this was announced in December last year, it is not certain when it will begin to take shape. The program, launched in 2016, has a deadline in the next 15 to 20 years.

The region neighboring the Yat Yuen land consists mainly of residential land plots. According to data released by the DSSOPT, currently, the population density of the immediate region is 90,000 people per square kilometer.

Currently, the land includes the decaying facilities of the former Yat Yuen company, the Lin Fong Sports Center, which comprises of a football pitch, a 400-meter running track and other track and field equipment, two swimming pools, an activity center, and a gym.

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