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Security hired to watch over NSPE complex during transition period

A commissionaire is seen checking a vehicle in at the NSPE grounds in Bible Hill. The 24/7 security is intended as a temporary measure during the transition period since being taken over by the provincial government.
A commissionaire is seen checking a vehicle in at the NSPE grounds in Bible Hill. The 24/7 security is intended as a temporary measure during the transition period since being taken over by the provincial government. - Harry Sullivan

BIBLE HILL, N.S. – Twenty-four-hour security has been put in place at the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition (NSPE) complex as part of the transition process since the operation was taken over by the provincial government.

The security, in place for a week now, is being provided by the Commissionaires who have checkpoints set up at each entrance to the NSPE complex and the Truro Raceway. Anyone who enters the grandstand is requested to sign in and out.

“We just want to make sure the assets are protected,” Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell told the Truro Daily News. “We thought it was necessary just as a precaution, nothing more.”

The security measures are not intended to be permanent, the minister said.

Colwell had earlier relieved advisory board members he had put in place in recent years of their responsibilities. In February he announced a decision to separate the operations of the Truro Raceway from the NSPE because of the long-term financial struggles that each facility has been dealing with.

The raceway is to be managed by the Truro Harness Horse Owners Association, which has signed a one-year lease with the province for the track and barns at a nominal fee of $100 per month. The initial fee had been reported as $200 per month but Colwell said that number was provided in error.

The NSPE complex is being managed by Darrelyn Hubley, a business consultant from Stewiacke with more than 30 years’ experience in event management and promotion, who has been hired to oversee the transition.

Of the 17 employees who were let go when the decision was announced, more than half have since been rehired by Truro Raceway.

Colwell said the facility review is ongoing and no decisions have been made regarding future staff for the NSPE facilities. But he said an initial review of the buildings and other infrastructure at the site has identified a number of deficiencies and electrical and other trades work is being conducted to correct that situation.

“Not great at all,” he said, in describing the condition of the facilities. “That’s going to be changed. I just want to make it clear to everybody that we want the facility to be there for a long time.”

Colwell indicated that improving the financial situation is a priority for him and he is “looking forward” to making both the raceway and the exhibition complex profitable.

“It really is important to the province and, I know, to the people of Truro and the surrounding area,” he said, of the long-term future of both operations.

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