Halton Place Forced to Cancel 2012 Show Jumping Competitions
March 6, 20121
Halton Hills, Ontario - Halton Place regretfully announces the cancellation of the three-week Canadian Country Classic, scheduled from August 21 through September 9, 2012, due an ongoing dispute with the Niagara Escarpment Commission.
The Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) determines the activities permitted on the privately held lands of Halton Place. For all prior years up to and including 2010, Halton Place applied for, and received, permits to host horse shows. Twice this permit was appealed by neighbours, and both times the NEC hearing officer ruled that horse shows are a permitted agricultural use under the Niagara Escarpment Plan. In 2009, the NEC approved six shows annually on a two-year permit for 2009 and 2010.
The Halton Place 2011 application was designed to permit Halton Place to host equestrian events each season without the need of obtaining a permit from the NEC each and every year. In a surprise move, this application was denied by the NEC on the basis that horse shows are a commercial/recreational use rather than an agricultural use. The matter was referred to a hearing following an appeal by Halton Place, as the NEC decision reflected a dramatic change in position from prior years.
Subsequent discussions with the Town of Halton Hills and Halton Region produced a signed agreement with both the Town and the Region supporting a perpetual permit for shows at Halton Place under similar conditions governing the shows permitted in 2009 and 2010. The NEC is not in agreement with the settlement reached between Halton Place, the Town of Halton Hills and Halton Region, and therefore a full hearing on the appeal is required. The first hearing will occur in March of 2012, with a further hearing likely to take place in April or May.
In addition to the loss of a viable competition venue for equestrian sport, the forced cancellation of the Halton Place horse shows will have a widespread economic impact within the community. Without the Canadian Country Classic running in 2012, businesses in the immediate region will lose an estimated $24,000,000 of income as calculated in an economic impact study conducted in 2010.
Although Halton Place is hopeful that the permit process will soon be completed, a final decision will not likely be reached until later this summer. Halton Place feels that this is far too late for riders to plan their competitive season, and does not want to negatively impact the many riders who have been so supportive of the Halton Place shows in the past.
“I have been a competitor for many years and know how important it is to make a detailed competition plan to achieve success and accomplish your goals,” said Timur Leckebusch, owner of Halton Place. “With that knowledge, and keeping the best interest of the riders and horse owners in mind, it would be unfair to delay this announcement any further. Competitors must be able to make decisions sooner rather than later.”
Halton Place sincerely regrets being unable to host the Canadian Country Classic in 2012 and wishes everyone a successful show season. Halton Place hopes to be in a position to welcome riders, owners and horse enthusiasts back again in 2013.
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