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Niagara Falls
Saturday, September 30, 2023
New horse-drawn carriage operator joins the ranks this summer
Ronda Cave, seen here with her carriage horse Johnny and puppy Milo will be operating a third carriage service this summer. EVAN LOREE

The roster of people who drive horse-drawn carriages in Niagara-on-the-Lake has gotten a little larger this summer.

A dispute over who gets to run horse-drawn carriage services in town came to an end two weeks ago. Now, NOTL officially has a third carriage operator.

Resident carriage driver Ronda Cave has been granted one of two available licences to operate for the 2023 tourism season.

The other was granted to Megan Sentineal, the niece of Jeff Sentineal – the owner and operator of Queens Royal Tours.

During the special council meeting on June 20, Jeff told council he is authorizing his niece to run his business this season while he takes a step back from the job to prioritize personal health issues.

“I’m not giving up anything I own,” Sentineal said.

Coun. Maria Mavridis recommended the town grant one of these licences to Cave for the 2023 season and the other to Sentineal.

Mavridis also suggested the town support Sentineal’s plan to let his niece take over the enterprise in his name.

Coun. Sandra O’Connor was concerned about adding a third carriage operator to town.

“I haven’t seen sufficient justification to add a new party,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor was the only councillor to withhold support for Mavridis’ motion, which was otherwise approved.

To make the business operational, Sentineal needed a licence from the town permitting his workers to occupy space in Old Town to park carriages and rest horses.

However, council learned at a meeting May 16 that Cave was effectively managing her own horse-drawn carriage venture under Sentineal’s licence.

And she’s been wanting to make it official and become NOTL’s third horse-drawn carriage service.

According to the town’s operating agreement with the carriage industry, only Sentineal Carriages and Queens Royal Tours are allowed to operate in town.

Sentineal Carriages holds three town-issued licences and in previous seasons, Queens Royal Tours has held two. 

Chief administrative officer Marnie Cluckie explained that the two licences usually available to Sentineal were up for grabs because they were in a state of “non-use.”

Non-use status means the business is paid for but is not operating.

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