Horse racing enthusiasts in Vernon are getting ready for court.
The Okanagan Equestrian Society has developed a plan to fund legal action against the City of Vernon over use of Kin Race Track.
“We’ve had so many members that want to contribute,” said Robyn Dalziel, society president.
The goal is to sell members debentures, or loan certificates, to generate the revenue needed to pay lawyers’ bills when the case goes before a judge in the spring.
Dalziel says a number of funding options were considered before a decision was made to proceed with debentures.
“We want a way for them (members) to do it properly instead of just handing money over,” she said.
However, before debentures can be issued, the process must be approved by the society’s members at a special meeting Oct. 1.
If that approval occurs, debentures will then be available to anyone who belongs to the group.
“If people outside of the society want to contribute, they can get a membership for $2,” said Dalziel.
The dispute between the society and the city and Regional District of North Okanagan began in 2010 when the society was evicted from Kin Race Track.
The society immediately took the city and RDNO to court, claiming equestrian activities were guaranteed when most of the track was turned over for free to the city. The society has also claimed RDNO ignored an agreement for lease renewals.
The jurisdictions, though, have claimed the society hasn’t lived up to its terms of the agreement, including maintenance of the property and holding events.
“This has to be settled,” said Dalziel.
“Our hands have been tied. We haven’t been able to do anything for several years there. We will move into court and afterwards, we will start rebuilding.”
The last races were in 2013 and a fire destroyed the grandstand in 2014.