Horses at CDP will soon have a new home

Brian McInnis
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Some barns dating back at least five decades are being demolished at the Charlottetown Driving Park to make way for a state-of-the-art barn that will house 120 horses in a $2-million project being funded by horse owners along with the federal and provincial governments.

One barn has been torn down and a part of another will also go. When the new facility is completed by next June, six other barns will be demolished and replaced with a new parking lot. During the construction phase of the project, horses will still be stabled in the old buildings and that will minimize the impact on the horses.

Colleen Dickie, president of the P.E.I. Standardbred Horse Owners Association, said in an interview Wednesday the new facility will make the CDP among the top tracks in the region

The new barn will have 120 stalls, which is the total number in the old barns. In total the CDP houses more than 200 horses in barns spread around the property.

“A lot of the old barns were not built for winter stabling and, in fact, the last two near Riverside Drive were summer shed rows. And as the horse population increased they needed to be somewhat winterized. But they were never built to be permanent stabling for horses,” Dickie said.

This project has been in the planning stage for about one year, but a new facility has been needed for years, Dickie said.

“If you go into the old barns there is poor lighting, poor ventilation, they are cold and are not healthy for the people or the horses.”

The new facility will have new wash stalls, tack and storage rooms and much better ventilation. Dickie said that poor ventilation was a major problem with the old barns because it led to mould and mildew, which can play havoc on the horses’ respiratory systems.

Dickie said that $1.5 million for the project came from the federal and provincial governments and the horse owners got a bank loan for the remainder.

Besides horses there is a population of barn cats at the CDP that have made the barns their home for years. In many cases, these strays are cared for by the horse owners and other people at the track.

The P.E.I. Humane Society plans to have someone visit the track and see if their help is required.

“We have not had any calls or concerns about the cats at the race track during the construction period, but one of our animal protection officers is going to go by the property and have a chat with the folks who are running the construction to make sure there is a plan in place for the cats,” said Kelly Mullaly, executive director of the P.E.I. Humane Society.

Organizations: P.E.I. Standardbred Horse Owners Association, P.E.I. Humane Society

Geographic location: Charlottetown Driving Park, Riverside Drive

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Recent comments

  • Harness Racing Gal
    January 10, 2014 - 12:14

    @ Slippy- Research has shown that for every dollar put into harness racing, $10 is given back to the government, which can fund for more projects. Harness racing is an island tradition and people are interested!! The horsemen and women work hard like any other taxpayer on PEI, and they deserve this new facility!

    • SLIPPY
      January 10, 2014 - 15:43

      That study has been shown to be cherry picked, and was far from unbiased. On top of that, it was not the racing that brought in the money, it was other gambling, which helped prop up the racing. They are getting 75% of their hobby payed for by other taxpayers. Horse racing is not popular, otherwise it would not die everywhere the government has stopped throwing money at it. The only people who know anyone interested in harness racing are the handfull of people who are into harness racing. The majority of the population doesn't care.

    January 09, 2014 - 19:51

    Absolute great news for harness racing. After the latest bad news in Truro and around the Maritimes this new facilty reconstruction will be a plus for harness racing on PEI

    • SLIPPY
      January 10, 2014 - 11:08

      And bad news for the taxpayers, who are not interested in spending money on harness racing, unless government takes it and gives it away. There is a reason harness racing doesn't thrive without handouts, no one is interested.