Event Centre taking shape into spring

Society president Charlie Cutforth with an artist’s rendering of the Ag Event Centre.

By CHARLES TWEED

If you’ve driven south out of Ponoka on Highway 2A, you’ve surely noticed the new Ponoka Ag Event Centre. You may think not a lot has changed there in quite some time but a trip inside the new complex tells a different story.

With plumbing, electrical, and mechanical work ongoing, the centre is starting to take shape.

Charlie Cutforth, president of the Ponoka Ag Event Centre Society, said the late spring is slowing down some of the progress they’d like to make outside of the centre.

He said the society has approximately $1.4 million set aside to build the barn that will house the pens to the east of the centre. The plan was to originally build a 200-stall barn but after speaking with many of the groups interested in using the centre, Cutforth said they might have to look at more stalls.

“The main thing is this barn because a lot of these major events require you to have the right facilities for them,” said Cutforth.

He hopes that the big events can, in a way, subsidize the building for smaller local groups who want to use it for a function. Cutforth doesn’t think finding groups to book the centre is going to be a problem.

“The demand for this is outstanding — I don’t have any doubt that as soon as we put a notice on our website saying, “we’re accepting bookings’ it be fully booked within 30 days,” said Cutforth.

Cutforth hopes the main building is complete by July 1 for the Ponoka Stampede but doubts the barn will be finished. Paving around the building is also a concern and he estimates they need to raise another $1.5 million to complete the project.

“The local support, once they understand that a component of the (MSI) grant has to be spent on joint community projects, when everyone hears that they’re right on side and it’s ideal and so suited to what we do,” said Cutforth speaking on behalf of Ponoka County.

There are still a few loose ends that need to be tied up before the real roping can begin. In the coming months the PAECS will hire a manager to run the centre, and naming rights for the centre and specific rooms in the building are still up in the air.

The big concern is making sure when the centre does open it’s ready to hit the ground running.

“You don’t want to open too soon, you have to be ready and done otherwise you turn the organizations away right off the start and then you’re in trouble,” said Cutforth.

Just Posted

OPINION: Jason Kenney won by portraying himself as the Guardian of Alberta

How did Kenney do it? He never considered himself an opposition leader and didn’t pretend to be one.

Kenney talks pipelines with Trudeau after election win, calls it cordial

Almost a year ago Kenney dismissed Trudeau as a dilettante and a lightweight

Homeless activists outside Notre Dame demand ‘a roof too’

Wealthy people have donated millions to effort to rebuild cathedral after devastating fire

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Trudeau to be portrayed on ‘Simpsons’ episode

Toronto journalist who’s posted videos of himself doing impressions of the PM voiced him for the show

Motorcyclist seriously injured after hit on one-way road in Nisku

Leduc RCMP respond to vehicle versus motorcycle with serious injuries

Bodies of 3 mountain climbers recovered after last week’s Banff avalanche

The men disappeared while attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak in the Icefields Parkway

Person airlifted to hospital after avalanche in Yoho National Park has died

The man was among a party of three involved in an avalanche Saturday afternoon

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Most Read