The following is a letter sent by Western Fair Association’s President and CEO Hugh Mitchell to Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa confirming his support, as well as Western Fair's, for the ministry’s long-term Government funding plan and encouragement to proceed with its implementation.
Mitchell's letter comes after Ontario Racing concluded its first round of in-person industry consultations on the long-term funding model. OR expects to release the compilation of feedback received through the in-person consultations and the online feedback portal in early December. A second round of consultations are planned with a timeline yet to be released.
December 1, 2016
The Honourable Charles Sousa, MPP
Minister of Finance
Dear Minister Sousa,
I would like to extend both my personal support and thanks, as well as the support and appreciation of my racetrack, Western Fair Raceway in London, Ontario, for the funding proposal recently put forth by your ministry through Ontario Racing to our horse racing industry.
I wish to go on record with my support and my encouragement of your ministry to proceed with the principles proposed as follows:
A new racetrack alliance of all Ontario tracks administered and overseen by Woodbine Entertainment Group;
Long term government funding that gives stakeholders confidence in a promising future;
Ongoing accountability and transparency for all participants benefitting from the government’s funding proposal;
Industry leadership: racetrack business plans, race dates and purse levels aligned across the province for a coordinated and collaborative approach to distributing live racing.
I also want to acknowledge the collective work and effort put forth by Ontario Racing, Woodbine Entertainment Group and the OLG during the recent consultation process to inform racing participants of the funding principles being proposed. This process was professionally managed and most informative.
It is my observation that our industry needs to proceed with the new initiatives proposed as quickly as possible. The plan may not be perfect, and questions may still remain, but I believe the horse racing industry in Ontario needs to take a leap of faith to embrace the concepts and the principles in it and, working with government, begin forging a brighter future for itself.
Once again, we appreciate the efforts and the support of your ministry as well as the other agencies that are working diligently to assure the success of Ontario’s horse racing industry going forward.
Hugh M. Mitchell,
President & Chief Executive Officer
(with files from WFD)