The Hamilton Police Service’s Mounted Unit is relocating to the Ancaster Fairgrounds for the next eight years starting this month.
About five horses will be stabled in the fairground’s 4,800-square-foot education building at a cost of about $6,000 per year. The Police Service will also spend about $40,000 to convert the building into stables to accommodate the horses.
“There will be some improvements that will be done,” said Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson. “The fairgounds (officials) are ready to do the improvements.”
He said the renovations will be completed in time for the Ancaster Fair scheduled for Sept. 19 to 22.
“The horses will be on display at the fair,” said Ferguson.
The horses had been housed at Black’s Equine Centre, located at6095 Dickenson Road, near Nebo Road, since the mounted unit was created in 2010. But police staff said the location added travel time to move the horses downtown. In addition there were questions about security and care for the animals. In addition, the police service received a better deal from the fairgrounds’ operators to house the horses than at the equine centre.
Ferguson said the fairgrounds, at 630 Trinity Road South is near Highway 403 which provides the police with a quicker way to travel into the downtown area, especially during emergencies.
The Police Service is expected to save about $11,000 per year, and over the eight-year lease, the savings are expected to top $48,000. The police are expected to hire a part-time barn manager at the fairgrounds to oversee the horses.
“(The mounted unit) is a wonderful pro-active way to prevent crime,” said Mountain councillor Tom Jackson. “I have had nothing but compliments (about the horses). This is another tool for our police service.”
The lease begins Sept. 1, 2013, and ends Aug. 31, 2021. Either party can terminate the lease after two years.