Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Horse racing will go on at Downs in 2014
The sport of kings will continue to rule over Assiniboia Downs this summer.
The Manitoba Horse Racing Commission (MHRC) announced today that it has issued a licence to the Manitoba Jockey Club (MJC) that will allow the track to conduct horse racing for the 2014 season. The new license replaces the temporary permit that was scheduled to expire Friday.
That temporary licence was granted after the MHRC balked over a pending joint-venture agreement between the MJC and Peguis First Nation. In that deal, which contained a 25-year, $15-million mortgage agreement, the MHRC expressed concerns over the potential for land transfers from the MJC to the First Nation.
Earlier this week, a Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench dismissed a request by the MJC to compel the MHRC to grant a licence, ruling that the commission was entitled to look at a copy of the joint-venture agreement before a racing license was awarded.
Following a negotiation, a licence was granted based on a MJC written statement indicating there is nothing in the deal with the Peguis First Nation that could result in a transfer of ownership (by foreclosure or otherwise) within the mortgage term.
The two sides continue to hold discussions on the joint-venture agreement between the MJC and Peguis, however the agreement contains a confidentiality clause that has not yet been waived by the First Nation. A committee of MHRC and MJC members has been put together to continue to work on the impasse.
"We are working toward a complete resolution of all outstanding issues," MHRC chair Tom Goodman said in a statement. "In the meantime, there must be certainty about the 2014 season."
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