Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Thanks to a loyal reader for the title of this post. 

UPDATE: Fort Erie Race Track Season to start on May 27 and end on September 30. 37 days of racing brought to you by your provincial tax money. Do the math: close to $6 million, divided by 37 race days. 

Thibert was interviewed this morning on CKTB. Did not mention The Year of the Horse festival. Earlier, an opinion posted by CKTB's Tim Denis contained this:

However, Jim Thibert, CEO of the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium, said the announcement of additional funding has still not produced enough cash for the track to host a full season…instead a Readers Digest version of a season that totals about 37 dates.  The number of race dates held at Fort Erie has been steadily declining for years, and took a significant hit last year. After running 80 race dates in 2012, the track dropped to 50 in 2013, and could end up as low as 40 this year so you’ll forgive the people of Fort Erie and the people in the industry, who feel like political footballs, if they call BS on this announcement.

Monday, March 31, at town council, according to Kris DubĂ© from Niagara Bullet

"The municipality was forced to make a decision to approve pitching in $500,000 to support the track."

Don Lubberts called it what it really is: Bonusing. (Had to add that word to my dictionary)

Here is what the Municipal Act of 2001 cites regarding bonusing:

2.1 Section 106 - Municipal Act, 2001

Section 106(1) and (2) of the Municipal Act, 2001 prohibits municipalities from directly or indirectly assisting any manufacturing business or other industrial or commercial enterprise through the granting of bonuses. Prohibited actions include:
  1. Giving or lending money or municipal property
  2. Guaranteeing borrowing
  3. Leasing or selling any municipal property at below fair market value
  4. Giving a total or partial exemption from any levy, charge or fee
Section 106(3) of the Municipal Act, 2001 provides an exception to this bonusing rule for municipalities exercising powers under the provisions of Section 28(6), (7) or (7.2) of the Planning Act or Section 365.1 of the Municipal Act, 2001.

On Monday (03/31/2014) night, Council voted to give $500,000. from its reserve fund to the Fort Erie Live Racing Consortium. It would help the FELRC to purchase some industrial property from racetrack owner El-Ad as part of a deal for a new owner to purchase the track. It has also been reported that the money would pay the $400,000. lease cost for the track for the year. This was rammed through council last night on the demand of Jim Thibert, general manager of the Fort Erie Economic Development and Tourism Corporation who also heads up the FELRC.
The property in question has an interesting history. It is currently assessed at $152,000.  Of course this does not add up. More to come on this later.
Don Lubberts did a brave thing by voting against this $500,000. gift to the FELRC. This council has worked hard to keep taxes down and save money. The reserve fund had well over a million due to these efficiencies. Now, because Jim Thibert was able to bully the council into ponying up a half a million, the reserve fund is lessened.
Millions of taxpayer dollars going to save a horse racing track that has been bleeding red ink for decades.
If it were any other industry, it would have closed down long ago.

(Donnie Lubberts does not expect to be invited to the opening day festivities.)