Races to proceed on weekend

Lacombe County will not stand in the way of this weekend’s harness racing at Lacombe Downs.

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Lacombe County will not stand in the way of this weekend’s harness racing at Lacombe Downs.

County Reeve Terry Engen said on Thursday that track owner Robert Allen and county staff have been meeting to resolve outstanding issues related to a development agreement that remains unsigned.

Staff are satisfied that progress is being made and will continue to work on finalizing the deal that the county wanted in place before races took place at the horse track just west of Lacombe at Hwy 2 and Hwy 12.

The county said two weeks ago that a stop work order could be issued if the remaining issues were not resolved. That’s not going to happen this weekend, said Engen.

“We’re certainly don’t want to say that won’t happen,” he warned.

County commissioner Terry Hager said staff met with Allen on Wednesday. “They’re making progress.”

An agreement is nearly complete that requires the developer to tie water and sewer into a regional system when it arrives in the future. Landscaping plans and a security to ensure the work can be finished are also being finalized.

The county is also meeting with Alberta Environment staff next week to review the drainage and wetlands provisions on the 142-acre site. A provincial sign-off on those environmental issues is among development conditions that must be met.

Hager said the county does not intend to stop racing “so long as we see progress, significant progress, we’ll work with Mr. Allen.

“The moment we don’t, we’ll have to look at other alternatives.”

Two days of harness racing were held at the partially completed facility last weekend. Hundreds of people turned out to watch and gamble on the harness racers. Racing is to resume this weekend.

Construction of a grandstand, barns and other facilities is still underway at the track.

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