Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition shakeup sees Truro Raceway staff laid off

The operations of the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition and the Truro Raceway are being separated, a move that has resulted in roughly 15 people who work for the raceway being laid off.

Raceway will now be run by the Truro Harness Horse Owners Association, which hopes to rehire laid-off staff

The Truro Harness Horse Owners Association will now be in charge of the track and the related barns. (CBC)

The entire staff at the Truro Raceway has been laid off, leaving about 15 people without jobs, according to Nova Scotia Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell.

"We separated the exhibition from the raceway and started making some changes in the facility toward long-term sustainability with the organization and the facility," he said in an interview Friday.

The Truro Raceway won't be shutting down though. Instead, a $200-per-month lease has been signed that will see the Truro Harness Horse Owners Association operate the track and related barns, while the stadium where spectators view races will still be maintained by Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition staff.

Steve Morton, the president of the association, confirmed it is taking over operation of the raceway. He said they hope to rehire as many of the laid-off workers as possible.

Colwell said events planned for the raceway will continue as usual.

The Truro Raceway sits on the 26-hectare Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition site. It's an 800-metre track with a huge infield. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

He said the move was necessitated by poor financial management that predates the current board and management, which began working in 2016 to help right the ship.

Colwell said discussions around the changes began about two to three months ago.

"Unfortunately, we had to do some things today that weren't very pleasant, but long term, we want a solid, sustainable exhibition, and solid, sustainable horse-racing activities that go on in Truro," said Colwell.

"It's really a benchmark for the community, very important to them. It generates a lot of revenue for hotels and restaurants and everything else in the area, so today is a move in that direction, so we can make sure the facility can keep going."