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Secret proposals exchanged over Vernon horse racing dispute

Image Credit: SOURCE/ Okanagan Equestrian Society
January 14, 2016 - 6:30 PM

VERNON - Proposed resolutions over an ongoing legal dispute between the City of Vernon and the Okanagan Equestrian Society are on the table, but neither side is commenting on the details.

The society’s lawyer, Ed Woolley, says proposals were exchanged this week and both parties are now considering their options. The legal dispute has been going on for years.

“I don’t think we’re necessarily on the cusp of solving this, but at least we’re having discussions that can lead us there,” Woolley says.

While both parties have said they want to resolve the dispute out of court, Woolley says it’s premature to say court is off the table. 

The society is looking for a resolution that allows horse racing and other equestrian activities to continue in Vernon, preferably at the Kin Race Track, although it’s not ruling out a new location. Moving to a new site in the city would require buy in from other levels of government and organizations, as well as the city.

“The city would have to come forth with funds for it,” Woolley says. “We would also need other elements to fall into place.”

The society has been unable to host races since the Kin Race Track grandstands burned down in a suspected arson in 2014, and Woolley says there’s some disagreement over how the insurance proceeds should be used.

“Our position would be pursuant to the trust agreement, that the insurance proceeds should be put back into the grandstands or some sort of similar building for the purposes of the race track,” Woolley says. “That question around the usage of those insurance proceeds needs to be resolved.”

He says the application of the insurance proceeds could provide a resolution to the dispute.

Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund wouldn’t comment on what proposals were made, but remains optimistic 2016 will be the year the dispute is resolved.

“We’re in the phase of discussing what’s best for the equestrian society and the City of Vernon,” Mund says. “You’re going to go back and forth with stuff.”

The equestrian society plans to discuss the city’s proposal at an Annual General Meeting this weekend, and will respond to the city’s offer after it has consulted with its membership.

“Assuming there’s no outright acceptance one way or another, we’ll see what we can do as far as counter proposals,” Woolley says.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2016

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