Hastings Harness Neighbor Wins OK for Slot Machines

Fraser Downs, a British Columbia Standardbred track located not far from Hastings Park, received approval Dec. 16 to install slot machines. The Surrey City Council will schedule a fourth reading on the measure and approve final documents in a few weeks, the track said in a press release.

The move is interesting because Hastings Park, a Thoroughbred track owned by Woodbine Entertainment Group, failed to win approval for slots from the Vancouver City Council earlier in December. The council, on a 6-5 vote, deferred the matter until June 2004 but did move forward with public hearings on a non-racing plan for a casino.

Work is expected to begin almost immediately on a temporary facility for the slot machines, with completion set for April 1. The $20-million to $30-million primary phase of the Fraser redevelopment would follow with a target date April 1, 2005 for the grand opening.

Fraser Downs was formerly known as Cloverdale Raceway. The company also owns Sandown Raceway on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Hastings Park officials had hoped slot machines could be installed at the racetrack in the summer of 2004. Surrounding municipalities already allow the machines.