BIBLE HILL, N.S.
A restructuring plan by the provincial government will see operations of tTruro Raceway separated from the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition Commission (NSPEC), a local MLA says.
“Basically what’s going to happen is, they are going to split the raceway from the provincial exhibition,” Lenore Zann, MLA for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River, told the Truro Daily News.
Zann’s comments came in response to a recent story about a private meeting held in Bible Hill in mid-December with Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell. The meeting included a number of local officials, among them members of the NSPEC board, general manager Joe Nicholson, the CEO of the Farm Loan Board as well as the mayors of Colchester County and Truro and the chairwoman of the Bible Hill Village Commission.
Those attending were instructed not to speak about the details of the meeting until the government issues an announcement.
Zann was not present at the meeting and so she does not fall under the “dome of silence” of the attendees, she said.
“The two mayors were invited but I was not invited as the MLA, which I think is inappropriate. It would have been nice to be a part of that meeting and kept in the loop as the MLA.”
But Zann said Colwell disclosed an outline of his plans to her in a private discussion the pair had at Province House in Halifax during last fall’s budget deliberations.
“I learned from talking to the minister during budget estimates. I asked specifically about the raceway and what is going to happen,” she said.
“And then to not to be invited to the meeting where he’s talking to government officials about it, I really think I should have been at that meeting.”
Although not privy to the full details of the restructuring plan, Zann said from what she has learned in speaking to others is that the plan offers promise toward making both operations successful.
“From the sounds of it, we’re looking at it with cautious optimism so long as the details in the plan are details the horsemen can agree to,” she said. “But what the talk is, it looks like it should all work out and they are going to give it a go.”
Truro Mayor Bill Mills said, while he can’t talk about the specifics of the province’s intentions until an announcement is made, a full discussion was held and he feels there is cause for optimism in what the government is planning.
“All the bases have been covered as to the province’s position,” Mills said. “Those things are to be determined but the status quo (at the NSPEC) is not an option any more.
“It’s going to be a major team effort to resurrect this thing.”
To be workable, Mills said the province’s plan will also have to include co-operation and involvement with all the affected municipal bodies.
And because speculation is spreading in the community about the province’s plans for the NSPEC, Mills said, he is somewhat surprised the announcement has not already been made.
“After we had that meeting in December I was under the understanding a press release would be forthcoming,” Mills said. “The question’s legit, when are we going to get some kind of an indication what’s going on, from the province itself?
“There’s no dark, dirty secrets here. And I still think the discussions we had were very positive and I think in the long run it will be a good thing for this region.”
A spokesperson for Colwell’s office said it has nothing to announce at this time regarding the NSPEC.