City may get Kin track
The players may be changing but there’s no immediate resolution to a lengthy court battle.
The City of Vernon could become the sole owner of Kin Race Track through parks restructuring, and that means it could go head-to-head with the Okanagan Equestrian Society over use of the site.
“The City of Vernon can take this forward. They don’t need us,” said Trafford Hall, Regional District of North Okanagan administrator.
RDNO owns the north end of the 48th Avenue property, but if parks restructuring proceeds, it has been suggested Vernon take over title because it already owns much of the site.
RDNO and the city have been partners in litigation since the Okanagan Equestrian Society was evicted from the property in 2010.
The society, which organizes Vernon Racing Days, claims equestrian activities were guaranteed when most of the track was turned over to the city in 1964 for free. The society also alleges the regional district ignored an agreement for lease renewals.
RDNO wants to use the 43rd Avenue site for other activities, including possibly sports fields, two arenas, a BMX track, a gymnastics facility and trails.
Hall believes handing over ownership to the city would simplify the legal process because RDNO and Vernon currently have separate lawyers.
“We have doubled our costs with no benefit,” he said.
Greater Vernon Advisory Committee directors want more information on possible implications before making a decision.
If ownership changes, it’s not known if Vernon would continue with RDNO’s plans for other recreational uses or allow the race track to remain.
“I can’t comment. We have given it no consideration because the matter is in litigation,” said Rob Sawatzky, Vernon mayor.
There could be some pressure, though, on Vernon to support equestrian activities there.
“A lot of residents of Coldstream have a stake in the horse racing industry. I would hope the interests of different users are kept in mind,” said Maria Besso, Coldstream councillor.