Editor: The Prince Edward Island Standardbred Horse Owners Association (PEISHOA) is planning to construct new barns at the Red Shores race track (Work on new horse barns at CDP to replace aging structures is expected soon. The Guardian, October 25). The old barns are not considered adequate for stabling horses. The proposed project would cost approximately $1.5 million, to be financed by the association with assistance from ACOA and the provincial government.
Given the importance of the Red Shores facility to Charlottetown, I am proposing the city provide a property tax incentive to help finance the construction of the new barns. The city has a property tax incentive program to attract new investment and to encourage existing operations to expand or renovate. Given the estimated property assessment of the new barns, the tax rebate to the PEISHOA would be roughly $323,400 over the next 10 years. That would be a major boost to the association to complete this project.
The harness racing industry provides significant economic benefits to the province and to Charlottetown. A recent consultant’s report on the economic impact of the industry determined that it accounts for direct expenditures of more than $31 million annually, which generate $82 million in sales. It results in $2.2 million in provincial tax revenues and a further $3.7 million in municipal and federal tax revenues. Its capital investments over the past several years of $36.7 million resulted in an economic impact of $66.4 million.
The industry provides about 750 jobs and generates significant spin-off benefits to the Atlantic Veterinary College, veterinarians, equipment, feed and other suppliers. World-class harness racing at Red Shores attracts thousands of visitors to Charlottetown every year.
This new investment will help put the PEISHOA on a firmer footing while enhancing the quality of facilities in a prominent part of the city.
In short, given the many benefits the industry provides to Charlottetown, providing a tax rebate is not only justifiable, it is also a sound investment in the future of a growing industry. I strongly encourage city council to provide this property tax rebate.