Participants Comment On Funding
"We look at this as a foundation of sorts. It's long-term, it's some stability but it's hopefully something we can build on."
A feature produced by CTV London provides insight from a pair of industry participants regarding the long-term funding agreement for Ontario's horse racing sector announced this past Friday by the province's Liberal government.
The new agreement will provide up to $105 million a year, for 19 years, for the horse racing sector, starting April 1, 2019, plus additional supports for smaller racetracks and those that are experiencing financial shortfalls.
To further help transform the industry and bolster rural communities, Ontario will continue the Enhanced Horse Improvement Program and introduce a new Racetrack Sustainability Innovation Fund, providing up to $6 million over three years, beginning in 2018, to help regional racetracks innovate, diversify and expand revenue sources to ensure the vitality of the industry for generations to come.
Greg Blanchard, Director of Racing from The Raceway at The Western Fair District, feels the industry can use the funding as a framework for growth.
"Get together, collaboratively now as an industry without the distraction of wondering from year to year whether we're going to be racing, which tracks are going to be racing," Blanchard told CTV's Brent Lale. "Now that we have this in place, we can really get our heads together and find ways to make our industry in Ontario even more robust."
Trainer Scott McNiven concurs that the news is "positive" due to the amount of jobs created by thoroughbred and harness racing in Ontario.
"It's better than a five-year deal because we're more than a five-year business," said McNiven. "It's a lot of jobs, it's a lot of rural jobs...feed companies, vets, blacksmiths, owners, grooms, trainers. There's a lot of people involved."
In order to consolidate thoughtful discourse, comments on the long-term funding agreement should be posted on the announcement page