Horse racing at Northlands Park won't come to an end this year after all.
Northlands has reached an agreement with Horse Racing Alberta to continue racing for all of 2017 and into 2018, until the new $50-million Century Mile facility opens near the Edmonton International Airport.
- Edmonton horse racing contract awarded to Century Casinos
- Horse racing in Edmonton coming down the home stretch
Northlands had announced earlier this year that 2016 would be the final year of horse racing. Under an ambitious redevelopment plan, the racetrack and casino would be transformed into a multi-use park for hosting large festivals and outdoor concerts.
In September, Century Casinos announced plans to build a $50-million horse racing facility near the airport, featuring the only mile-long track in Western Canada.
Century Mile is expected to open in July 2018, according to Thursday's news release.
'It is a win'
Shirley McClellan, CEO of Horse Racing Alberta, said her organization is grateful to Northlands Park for allowing racing to continue into 2018.
"The agreement allows the industry a seamless transition into Century Mile while addressing the unique needs of all breeds," McClellan said in the news release. "We are very pleased at the spirit of cooperation that is indicated by this licence extension."
Tim Reid, president and CEO of Northlands, described the deal as an win all around.
"It is a win for the HRA in that this deal provides stability and a go forward plan for the horse racing community," Reid said.
"It is a win for the City of Edmonton in that it allows administration time to evaluate future area redevelopment plans in accordance with the council motion and timelines, and it is a win for Northlands in that it affords us the time to continue to work on our future development plans."