It’s still not known when a prolonged legal battle over Kin Race Track will wrap up.
Final arguments from the City of Vernon and the Okanagan Equestrian Society were presented in a New Westminster court Sept. 28 and 29, and there hasn’t been any word yet from the judge on a decision.
“It could be the new year before we hear the decision and reasons,” said Will Pearce, the city’s chief administrative officer.
That timeline is also supported by the society.
“We expect a decision in the next several months,” said Robyn Dalziel, society president.
The dispute began in 2010 when the society was evicted from Kin Race Track.
The society immediately took the city and the Regional District of North Okanagan 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.
“The city believes the lands would serve a greater public purpose if they are owned and managed by the city,” said Pearce.
However, the society insists contracts and witness testimony shows the Kinsmen gave the Vernon Jockey Club land to the City of Vernon, in a trust, with conditions around use and maintenance, that is still in effect today.
“The society has asked the judge to uphold our contracts and we have asked for mandatory orders regarding rebuilding the grandstand, fixing the stalls, and bringing the race track back to racing condition, as the City of Vernon promised they would do, when they accepted the gift from the Kinsmen in 1964,” said Dalziel.
“This was not about money for the society. This case was for the protection of the facilities and the race track for future generations as was the intention of contracts dating back to 1893. This case was about the people of Vernon and those who come from other jurisdictions and support the business community in Vernon.”