Work on a new horse barn at the Charlottetown Driving Park is expected to begin next month, The Guardian has learned.
Survey work began recently on replacing seven of the older horse barns at the track and an official announcement is expected to happen soon.
A source close to the project, who didn’t want to be identified because an official announcement hasn’t been made yet, said the project is expected to cost close to $2 million.
The province is said to be in for about $500,000, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is expected to contribute about $750,000 while the P.E.I. Horse Owners Association will likely chip in another $500,000.
The aging barns, all of which are more than 50 years old, are located along Exhibition Drive, on the south side of the entrance to the track. The newer barn, located on the corner of Exhibition Drive and Kensington Road, is not affected by the project. In addition, no changes are planned to the barns located on the opposite side of the CDP on Park Street.
Officials looked at remodeling but found building a new structure was cheaper. Horsemen have told The Guardian that the air circulation isn’t good in the barns and at least some of them aren’t even winterized.
The seven barns will be replaced with a single large barn.
The Guardian spoke with the president of the horse owners association earlier this month but was told they would have no further comment until the project was officially announced.
There’s still no indication when that is going to happen but many within the harness racing industry expected some news any day.
“This has been talked about for a long time and, from what I hear, it’s close to happening,’’ said one horse owner.