Dennis Townsend, in a Vancouver newspaper, suggests that horse owners should be more "responsible," yet does not give a single example of an irresponsible action by a horse owner.
He says the horse industry is "demanding," and as an example, mentions the desire for Langley Township to extend a trail from Campbell Valley Park to 256th Street.
He neglects to mention that Campbell Valley Park is a Metro Vancouver regional park that is there for the use of the entire Metro population, including horse owners, cyclists, walkers, dog owners, etc.
I would also suggest that the cost of $500,000 to extend the trail is a mere drop in the bucket, compared to the annual subsidy needed to fund the Langley Events Centre and the many public sports fields in the Township.
Mr. Townsend used Thunderbird Show Park as an example of how little the horse industry pays in taxes, and compares it to a Gloucester Industrial Park business (which he conveniently fails to identify) that he says pays much more.
But in using Thunderbird as an example, he fails to take into consideration the spin-off business created by that facility. For example, at a just-completed horse show, there were over 400 entries, a good portion of whom were from out of town and out of province.
Each of those 400 entries had support staff.
Those people, most here for a week, stayed in local hotels, bought food in local stores, bought fuel at local gas stations, used the local farriers and veterinarians, shopped in local malls, got their rigs fixed at local repair facilities, bought horse feed at local feed lots, and bought saddles and tack at local tack shops.
The facility alone purchases tens of thousands of bales of horse bedding every year.
Mr. Townsend didn't identify his fictitious Gloucester business, but I would question how many of the employees even live in the Township let alone spend money in our community.
He also mentions that this same business has no transit service. To compare, not only does Thunderbird not have that same service, but it also has to provide its own water, sewage, and garbage disposal.
There are many ways to evaluate an industry's value to the community. In the case of the horse industry, it has been shown that it contributes hundreds of millions of dollars a year to the local economy.
Fred McNeill, Township of Langley