Sudbury horse racing industry stands to lose 500 jobs
Study looks at social and economic impacts with the end of Slots at Racetracks program
Posted: Jul 24, 2012 3:32 PM ET
Last Updated: Jul 24, 2012 3:24 PM ET
Though a decision has yet to be made on the future of Sudbury Downs, some residents involved in the horse racing industry are already anticipating the loss of money, jobs and homes.
The horse racing industry has changed considerably since Chantell Robertson and her husband bought their 125-acre Chelmsford farm in 2004, when “purses were good and you could actually invest in your horses and make some money with them.”A recent report says the horse racing industry in Sudbury brings in $10 million a year and provides more than 500 jobs. (Sudbury Downs)
Eight years later, Robertson's view has changed and the farm is being sold.
Earlier this year, the province announced the end of Slots at Racetracks, a revenue-sharing agreement which largely funded the horse racing industry.
"Without the racing we won't be able to make our mortgage payments,” Robertson said. “There's a lot of time and money and energy that was invested in that farm and now it seems like it was for nothing."
Robertson said her family has invested almost $1 million in the farm.
Industry brings $10M annually to Sudbury
Karen Pappin did a study for the Northern Horsemen's Association which looked at the social and economic impacts of the government's decision.
"The guy who trains the horse, to the guy [who] races the horse, to the hay farmer to the grain farmer, the blacksmith to the veterinarian — [they all] will be negatively affected,” she said.
Pappin estimated the horse racing industry in Sudbury brings in $10 million a year and provides more than 500 jobs.
In June the Liberal government announced it would create a $50 million transitional fund to compensate those who are affected by the end of Slots at Racetracks program.
Robertson said she's frustrated by the way the government made the decision.
"We had just built a new barn last year. If we had known the program was going to be ending in a year, I never would have invested all of that money,” she said.
“I think if they at least had said that, in three to five years, we're going to be transitioning this program down … we could have somehow adjusted better."
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