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Ash Discusses Western Fair's Future

Published: February 17, 2019 5:12 pm ET

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The Western Fair District is evolving. The historic London fairgrounds announced its new chief executive officer this past week. The area’s casino gaming offerings are expected to be headed elsewhere in the coming years, and Reg Ash has commented on a growth area he would like to see the district focus on.

“Ash has served as the Association’s Chief Administrative Officer for six years and within his 18-year career has overseen several business units, as well as Corporate Administration, Finance and Human Resources,” Joe Dales, Chair of the Western Fair District’s Board of Governors, said in announcing Ash’s promotion. “His varied experience with and knowledge of the Association’s agriculture, business and community initiatives, plus his dedication and passion for its mandate will bode well for the future of Western Fair District, its employees, members and communities it serves.”

Ash mentioned a few of those aforementioned areas while discussing ideas for the future of the Western Fair District, which is looking to publicly unveil its going-forward plans at some point later this year.

Ash believes that the Western Fair District could possibly position itself to be a bigger player in agri-food and integrate itself into the local industry via creating a campus-style environment in support of that industry.

"I'd like to see some sort of research happening here,” Ash was quoted as saying. “I'd like to see education happening here, small scale production."

According to Ash, the Western Fair District believes that it can play an important role in the growth of the agri-food industry in the London area.

“We see that we can play a really important role in helping grow that portion of our economy, connecting different users, whether it's consumers, producers and other industry members, and just finding a way that we can really make it a robust ecosystem here," said Ash.

Gateway Casinos & Entertainment, which currently offers non-horse-racing gaming at Western Fair, announced late last year that it has leased land on Wonderland Road in order to eventually relocate its London casino operation. The decision has put the future of live harness racing at Western Fair in jeopardy and has prompted multiple Ontario racing organizations to call for the historic London Standardbred venue to be supported.

(With files from CTV News London)

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