Despite setbacks, PAECS board moving forward

It’s business as usual at the ag event centre. Despite the recent firing of general manager Chas Lambert

Through the beams: Rylie Fricker and MacKenzie Murray of Allee Construction install galvanized steel beams at the ag event centre Feb. 20. A viewing deck will be constructed here and retractable seating underneath.

Through the beams: Rylie Fricker and MacKenzie Murray of Allee Construction install galvanized steel beams at the ag event centre Feb. 20. A viewing deck will be constructed here and retractable seating underneath.

It’s business as usual at the ag event centre.

Despite the recent firing of general manager Chas Lambert, Ponoka Ag Event Centre Society (PAECS) directors are moving forward with plans to promote rentals and complete the building.

Vice-president Sherry Gummow gave an update to members of the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce Feb. 19.

The first load of permanent seating arrived Feb. 19 and work is underway to construct an upper level for spectators a bird’s-eye view of the arena during events, she explained.

Gummow feels the ag event centre can be a benefit to businesspeople in town but they need to do some of the work. “I respectfully submit that it’s not up to the Stampede Association or the ag centre to get new customers to your stores.”

She suggests one of the ways to get involved is to approach event organizers directly and offer coupons or other sponsorship to those events.

“For very small investment, $50 or $100, you can sponsor a class at most of those shows,” she advised.

There was a suggestion that an electronic sign at the centre would help create more awareness of special events. For the time being the board has an agreement with the Town of Ponoka to use its electronic sign at the intersection of Highways 2A and 53.

“If you know somebody that wants to contribute $100,000, we’ll put the sign up that we are quoted,” she said. “We are obviously still in a fundraising mode for that sign.”

PAECS director Dale Olson said he knows the community would like to see a large sign informing people of events. “But at the moment our last bit of funding and cash that we have on hand is going to be used to finish off the seating and some of the other things that are much more functional to the building.”

Another suggestion was for the board to use a freestanding sign for the interim. Gummow said it has been discussed but no decision has been made.

Sponsorship for the barn stalls is still available as well as 500 sponsorship plaques for the retractable seating. Directors Terry Jones and Don Letwinetz can be contacted for sponsorship.