Meeting held to discuss Woodbine stabling policy impacting Niagara

A meeting was held today regarding the issue of horse stabling at Woodbine Racetrack, which some say is impacting the number of horses racing in Niagara.

NDP MPP Wayne Gates met today with the Minister of Finance Charles Sousa at his office, and with the Minister responsible for Horse Racing Jeff Leal via teleconference.

The meeting discussed the recent horse stabling policy by Woodbine Racetrack and also included Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop, Racetrack CEO, Jim Thibert, Racetrack COO, Tom Valequette, Fort Erie Councillor George McDermott, and St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley.

“The meeting was very productive – it’s clear the Minister understands the concerns of the new stabling policy and is committed to helping us address the issue as quickly as possible,” said Gates. “Making the Fort Erie Racetrack a success again is one of my biggest missions and I refuse to let any policies interfere with that on my watch.”

The meeting followed a direct question Gates asked the Premier on May 29th in which the Premier directed the Ministers to meet with Gates and discuss the new stabling policy of Woodbine Racetrack.

Gates says the policy reverses a decades old trend in which horses stable at Woodbine but race at both locations.

Gates says the new policy has caused a loss in the number of horses in Fort Erie races. 

“I’ve been on the phone every day with a number of Ministers and senior staff in the Government. The people whose livelihoods depend on the Track can rest easy knowing we’re not going to let this issue go. Myself and the officials from Fort Erie will do everything in our power to make sure that Woodbine’s policies don’t stand in the way of Fort Erie’s success.”

“I would like to thank everyone who came to this meeting, it shows how important this Track is to the Niagara area”.

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