Plans moving ahead for PAECS and its events

There is a rhythm and flow to the evolution of the ag event centre’s growth

There is a rhythm and flow to the evolution of the ag event centre’s growth and society president Terry Jones wants people to know things are going well after recent issues. One of those issues involves Ponoka County pulling financial support after questions of equal representation were not dealt with.

Directors of the Ponoka Ag Event Centre Society (PAECS) have been working with new staff to ensure people who want to make bookings have someone they can speak with. “Beryl and Terry Jarrett are handling the bookings.”

“The board is really happy with the staff and what they’ve done to keep it clean,” he added.

Jones is pleased to see the new grandstand seating working out and has heard positive comments from attendees of the centre. “The seats are cool and they retract in and out.”

The differences PAECS has with its partners — Ponoka County and the Town of Ponoka — Jones is reluctant to discuss as he feels the focus should be on the positive aspects of the building. Since Ponoka County pulled its financial support however, PAECS has not sought more money from the county and has withdrawn a request for $50,000 from the town.

“The goal of PAECS is to operate the building on its own without funding from the partners,” he said.

All the members of the board, who comprise the two municipalities, the Ponoka Stampede Association and the Ponoka Agricultural Society, have a vested interest in seeing the ag event centre do well, he added. “I believe the groups can and will come together.”

They have a long-term goal to get a billboard sign up but the cost ranges from $60,000 to $100,000 and the group is working to pay back some of its debt before moving forward with a billboard.

A new budget has passed and Jones feels confident PAECS will have a surplus for next year. He was reluctant to discuss board governance except to say they are working on how that would work. Certain bylaws need to be changed for that to happen.

He also addressed the issues they have been having with the air exchange system. A second set of air filters help staff manage clean air intake and Jones believes a few more fans in the building will ensure proper air flow.

As staff are already in place Jones does not see a need to replace general manager Chas Lambert who was fired. The board will consider hiring a manager in the fall, he added.

The building is almost completely booked with only two dates available in July and one in September and despite mainly horse shows at the centre, “I’m just open to anybody” Jones said.

Already groups such as the 4-H and the Broncs Rodeo Academy are using the building daily.

Right now there is an opening on the board as Don Letwinetz left recently as the community member at large; there is a committee looking into having a member at large on the board right now, said Jones.