Following a spat that has since been patched up, the Ponoka Ag Events Centre Society (PAECS) is looking toward the future.
And that future is looking very bright, according to the presentations made at the society’s annual general meeting held Jan. 15.
PAECS president Terry Jones mentioned in his address that, in spite of the difficulties in late 2018 as the society and the Ponoka Agricultural Society (PAS) attempted to re-negotiate their operational agreement, things have been going well at the facility.
In the end, PAECS took over operations of the building at the start of 2019. However, with the recent changes to the PAS board, there is hope the relationship can return to the way it had been when the partnership began.
“2019 was a very busy and successful year at the centre with many events coming to the community. It’s estimated that the building brought in over $10 million to the economy of Ponoka,” Jones said.
“I want to thank all of the partners for their support. The building could not run without it. It’s been a trying year working with the ag society. However, we are really excited with the changes made to their board and excited to work with them on getting a new operating lease signed.
“And maybe we can get back to the original agreement, working together moving forward and seeking grants that come through the Ag society.”
He added one of the many exciting positive changes last year was the $1.7 million expansion project that was completed on time and on budget.
“It was all due to government grants the board worked on, some fundraising and the support from our partners,” he said.
“I’m proud to have that all paid for.”
Leasing the concession was also something Jones felt helped make the centre a success, with the operators doing a great job and having quickly become part of the centre’s family.
He also thanked the staff of the centre for their commitment to keeping things clean and running smoothly.
“We have a great staff here that put in countless hours for things like set up, tear down and cleaning. We get a lot of comments on that from people and sometimes the staff don’t get the credit they deserve,” Jones added.
The centre has a number of things on the go, including looking at the potential of adding to the current seating capacity and other small improvements.
On the financial side, PAECS is very healthy and stable according to the report presented at the meeting by Margo Hatala, a partner in the accounting firm of Rowland, Parker & Associates.
Hatala did add though, that since this is the first set of financial statements with the society as the building’s operator, there were no figures to compare with, but did state the numbers were consistent with the amounts that were expected.
An overall profit of $200,552 was the end result of operations, prior to factoring all of the assets as well as any partner contributions, grants and payments on lines of credit.
During the nine months of operations, the centre saw revenue from rentals hitting nearly $588,000 with its barrel racing series achieving just over $55,000 while the barn area took in about $51,000.
Yet, as the society took on operations, expenses increased as well, reaching almost $712,000 in total.