The new barn being built at the Charlottetown Driving Park is well needed and the city should recognize that, says a former Charlottetown city councilor.
Philip Brown says the new construction on Exhibition Drive will go a long way in cleaning up the aging facilities and beautify the surrounding area.
The provincial government and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency are partnering with the Prince Edward Island Standardbred Horse Owners Association to construct the new $2 million barn to house 120 horses. The province and ACOA will shoulder $1.5 million
of the tab, but the horse owners association is taking out a loan for the other $500,000.
Brown believes the city of Charlottetown should give a tax exemption to the new facility to help the association cover its costs without burdening horse owners with a higher stall rent fee after they take over control of the building.
“The horse industry is a big industry for the city and the province,” Brown said. “It’s an economic generator because it brings people into the city.”
Brown notes horsemen and fans coming into Charlottetown spend well on purchases like meals, fuel, feed and general supplies.
“There is a multiplying effect there that I don’t think we recognize. If businesses are making money they are going to stay in the city and invest it.”
Brown, who has not ruled out a run for mayor this fall, suggests the new barn should receive a property tax exemption from the city for 10 years, similar to the deal given to the Invesco building on Euston Street. Commercial spaces pay $2.21 per $100 worth of assessment in the city, with Brown noting the new barn will be worth around $1.4 million. This would save the association around $32,000 a year, for the 10 years such an arrangement would be in place.
“I don’t think they are going to pocket that money,” Brown said. “They will look at it as not having to increase the stall rent to cover that cost.”
Brown is taking his proposal to city council with a final decision to come in the March Charlottetown budget. The province already exempts anything built on Red Shores from paying property tax.
My condolences to the family of owner-trainer-breeder Clifton Gardiner, 70, who passed away Saturday.
The resident of Degros Marsh had a lifetime of involvement in harness racing, often connected with good friend Earl Smith. Gardiner had a pair of Atlantic Sires Stakes contenders in recent years with Beckys Filly and Nicoles Baby, as well as standing Western Success for a time.
Red Shores has made a decision on the role of racing experience manager after Brett Revington resigned late last year. Adam Walsh will take over the position after filling it in the interim. There is no doubt in the industry that Walsh is a very capable choice for the job and will help to see Red Shores succeed and grow.
Charlottetown native Jason Ryan is stamping himself as a go-to-driver at Monticello Raceway in New York.
The 25-year-old driver recorded five wins on the Tuesday afternoon card at the half-mile oval winning with Lambretta for trainer Andrew Adamczyk, Iwannabesedated for trainer Jennifer Lappe, Machinist and Johnny Gripa for trainer Rene Allard and Threestepstoheaven from his own stable.
Ryan is now tied for third in the driving standings at Monticello.
Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Charlottetown Driving Park:
Race 1 – Winbak Poker
Race 2 – Block Party
Race 3 – Artasin Memory
Race 4 – Zip The Lip
Race 5 – Blu Meadow Willie
Race 6 – There Paid For
Race 7 – Van Zant
Race 8 – General Simba
Race 9 – Rebelryan
Race 10 – Hornswoggle
Race 11 – April Dawns Star
Race 12 – Pinner
Race 13 – Teddys Place
Nicholas Oakes’ column appears in
The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at nicholasoakes.hotmail.com.