BIBLE HILL, N.S. – All staff members of the Truro Raceway were unexpectedly laid off Friday morning in a move that leaves the facility’s future in question.
“I can confirm that the board has been laid off including the general manager,” a spokeswoman in Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell’s office told the Truro Daily News Friday morning.
Chrissy Matheson said 17 staff members, including Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition Commission (NSPEC) manager Joe Nicholson, were included in the layoffs.
He is being replaced by business consultant Darrelyn Hubely, who reportedly made the layoff announcement to staff.
A staff member who was present during the announcement, but wishes to remain anonymous, said employees were not provided with a reason for layoffs. The person said they were only provided with severance pay, told to collect their belongings, to turn in their keys and leave the premises.
Steve Morton, president of the Truro Harness Horse Owners Association, said he did not have details of the meeting and could not comment on the situation other than to say the race track is not being shut down, but instead will be managed by the association members.
“My focus is keeping the racetrack open,” he said. “The Truro Raceway will be racing.”
Track racing had been scheduled to resume in April.
Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River MLA Lenore Zann said she received a late-morning call from Colwell to apprise her of the situation, although all the details were not yet available.
“I just got a call from the minister saying they are not closing the raceway, that they were letting people go but that things are going to continue as normal, however that‘s supposed to happen,” she said.
Zann said Colwell confirmed to her the raceway operations are going to be split from the NSPEC “… and the horsemen’s association will be renting at a low rate from the provincial exhibition.”
Further details are expected to be forthcoming from Colwell’s office.