MacMaster confirms raceway funding is safe

INVERNESS: Inverness MLA Allan MacMaster is happy to report that funding for the Inverness Raceway was green lit in the provincial budget.

“I had to opportunity to ask the Minister of Agriculture if he could confirm that [the Inverness Raceway] would be getting their funning, and they are,” MacMaster told The Reporter early last week.

“It’s a smaller item in the budget, so I had to probe to find out they’d be getting their funding.

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“We’re very happy,” he said. “It’s an important part of the local economy in Inverness. Last year, I believe there were 23 race dates. You have horse owners coming in. It’s an attraction for people visiting the area.”

MacMaster was unable to say the exact dollar figure that would be coming the Inverness Raceway’s way, but the total investment from the province for the three raceways in Nova Scotia is in the ballpark of $1 million.

“I don’t have an exact number, but I’m sure it’s north of a couple $100,000 a year,” he said. “I believe it’s less than a third.”

The advantages to Inverness County’s tourism sector provided by the raceway can’t be undersold, the MLA said. Harness racing is a unique attraction that brings people to the county twice every week.

With that, the raceway has a history of building character, providing jobs, and allowing the provincial government to benefit financially, he said.

“There are a lot of young people who learn about caring for animals at the raceway when they’re looking after animals, and that helps them become good citizens,” he said. “In a lot of cases, this is a family tradition, with young people taking over from their grandparents. There’s the agriculture activity that goes with the horses, and there’s the benefits for the government in terms of the taxes that are generated.

“We know Inverness as a golf capital, and the more we can extend people’s stay, the more money we bring into the province every year,” he said.