The family that operates a stable on land at 80th Avenue and 216th Street didn’t know until this week that Langley Township is considering transforming the site into a horse racing track.
Sunny Riding Stables has been located at 8020 216th St. for about 15 years, said Jonathan Ra, the son of owner and operator Ralph Ra.
“The Township bought the land from the previous landowner about three years back now,” Jonathan said.
Sunny Riding was allowed to stay, but has been on a year-to-year lease that renews every August since then.
Last week, a leaked document showed that for about a year, the Township has been considering a plan to turn the 32-acre site into a future thoroughbred and standardbred race course,
Jonathan said the family did not know about the potential plans for a race track on the site, where his family also lives. As far as he knew, the Township had long-term plans to turn the site into a park.
Now he’s not sure what happens next.
“We can’t just pick up and go,” Jonathan said.
Sunny Riding Stable has 11 horses, and runs horseback riding lessons. They have an outdoors riding arena, and had hoped to clean up the large riding track on the site, but Jonathan said his father is in his 60s and health issues make the upkeep of such a large area an issue for him.
Jonathan’s concern is how his father would handle having to relocate. Given the rising cost of land, they’re worried that any site they could afford would be too far out into the Fraser Valley to serve their riding clients.
If they can’t find another site, they don’t know what they would do with the horses, which have been with Ralph all their lives.
“They’re part of his family,” Jonathan said. “He has a pretty personal relationship with each of his horses.”