Report says Fort Erie Race Track is not sustainable
Premier Kathleen Wynne says the government will put up to $400 million over five years into Ontario's struggling horse-racing industry.
A panel appointed by the Liberals after they cancelled the slots-at-racetracks program made the recommendation in a report released today.
The future of the Fort Erie Race Track is summed up in a single bullet point in the report
• While Fort Erie remains a beautiful and historic site, the panel can find no path to sustainability for a full race calendar there. The panel suggests exploring the possibility of a holding a festival meet at Fort Erie - with horses shipped in on race days - in conjunction with regional tourism initiatives.
The panel urges the government to inject up to $80 million per year over five years, starting next April, mainly to help cover purses and the costs of live racing.
The panel also calls for a standard-bred racing alliance to operate a ``world class racing circuit'' with eight tracks - Hanover, Clinton, Grand River, Western Fair, Flamboro, Georgian, Mohawk and Woodbine.
However, it says it doesn't support a full race calendar at Fort Erie's track but endorses the current 30-day calendar at Ajax Downs.
Fort Erie Mayor Doug Martin says he was stunned by the news and is calling on the Premier to show the sustainability packages.
The Progressive Conservatives say the damage has already been done in rural Ontario, where farms have gone bankrupt and people have lost their jobs.
Read the full report here