Ag event centre prepares for phase three

Planners at the Calnash Ag Event Centre are preparing for the third phase of the building – the Cattle Pavilion.

Planners at the Calnash Ag Event Centre are preparing for the third phase of the building the Cattle Pavilion.

Centre manager Dennis Pugh and Rick Cline, member at large for the Ponoka Ag Event Centre Society (PAECS), met with town council during their regular Tuesday, March 22 meeting to highlight council on the third phase of the project.

Pugh said this phase will allow organizers to have a cleaner facility for storing sand and animals and will cover the main arena and barn from the elements.

As the building grows, so do its events. “This year we have something unique for 2016. We’re hosting the dog agility championships,” explained Pugh.

He said the third phase will also increase the number of available stalls by 150, which, in turn, will be a further source of revenue for the arena, now operating in the black for several years.

A popular event is the Alberta Barrel Racing Association Finals and PAECS members want to keep the finals in Ponoka. Cline added the Cattle Pavilion will shade and protect livestock and other animals at events. The group is in the initial stages of fundraising for the $1.6 million project with $300,000 already in hand.

Cline said the goal is to have the pavilion up by next winter. Mayor Rick Bonnett said the town supports the project but getting money will be a challenge for 2016. He suggested 2017 may be a better year for the town to support the project with any financial assistance.

“On the cattle pavilion side, we do support it,” said Bonnett.

While the town may not have an extra amount of money, it can potentially support the project with in-kind assistance. Pugh added that the building has become so busy that events are booking right into 2017.

“We need more weekends,” Pugh joked.

No decisions were made at the meeting.