Page 4 - February 26, 2018
P. 4

Yellowhead Ag Society moves

ahead with new facility HALF PAGE



Yellowhead Ag Society’s Christine Davis making the presentation on
February 20 to County Council regarding their proposal for a new
events centre at the Edson Rodeo Grounds. photo Dana McArthur FOR ALL 3 WEEKS
by Adrienne Tait

The Yellowhead Agricultural Society (YAS) made presentations to Town
and County Councils regarding their proposal for the new Edson Chrysler
Events Centre at the Edson Rodeo Grounds, during the regular council
meetings on February 20.
The group has outgrown the current indoor riding facility and has plans
to construct a building which will seat more than 500 spectators, a main
and warm-up arena, concession and more.
The current facility is not big enough to support the current use and the
Society has been forced to turn away events in recent years as they are
unable to accommodate the usage.
The current arena has a utilization rate of more than 90%. Presenter
Christine Davis said, “Our demand is higher than our availability.”
The society has seen 700% growth in usage and membership over the
past five years. Something Davis attributes to a strong board, dedicated Jim Eglinski
volunteers, and facility improvements. “We became a strong board about
seven or eight years ago. Since then we have insulated the building, added MP Yellowhead
new flooring, a new roof, improved our calendar and the structure around
usage. I am proud of the fact we have a strong board of 16 driven,
passionate people,” said Davis.
The YAS received approximately $35,000 in rental income, the grounds
and facilities are valued at $866,000 which the YAS owns outright.
In addition to riding, the facility is used for youth programs, dog agility,
hosts clinics, rodeos, and jumping just to name a few.
The current facility does not have any indoor plumbing, and safety has
been raised as a concern when there are multiple contestants, spectators
and animals in the existing arena.
Several events were listed as possible future bookings for Edson as ones
that originated at the grounds and had to be moved because the events
outgrew the space such as the Rocky Mountain Futurity Derby, Race for a
Reason, the 4-H beef show, and Bullarama. Other events that a larger
venue would support include the Edson Stampede and MJ Memorial
Barrel Race.
The proposed facility will be a steel structure that will include a 250' by
130' arena, 80'x130' warm up area, a 20'x40' meeting room, wash bay,
showers, storage, concession, commercial kitchen, seating for over 500,
and more.
Davis said, “Once constructed it will be the only facility of this
magnitude, for this purpose, on highway 16.” Ponoka has a facility that is
similar in size and scope to the one proposed.
Davis said, “We feel confident that we can bring the same level of funds
to the Edson economy that the Kinsmen Ball tournament did in the past.”
The Yellowhead Agricultural Society is currently seeking support from
municipal partners and local business/donors with hopes of starting
construction this spring and having the facility completed by the fall.
Councillor Bevan asked if they have programs for special needs children
such as horse therapy. Price said one of the directors has a passion for that
and would like to introduce it to this area, but it is challenging with the
current facility being overbooked.
The YAS intends to use as much clean energy as possible when building
the facility and has already begun sourcing solar panels and hired a
consulting firm to help determine what it will take to be a self-sustaining
The environmental assessment, survey and stake out, and the
geotechnical have been completed. YAS has also hired a performance
sponsorship group as well as a development project manager. The budget
for the project has been set at $3.8 million.
Funds held for a new building by the Society include $65,000 and GIC
from Casinos of $75,000. They have also applied for a Lottery Grant and
hope to receive $1,000,000. Naming sponsorship opportunities could
reach $900,000 with over $500,000 secured so far, and donations to date
(volunteer time and discounts) equals $150,000.
Approximately 63% of visitors to the current facility are Yellowhead
County and Edson residents.
After the Agricultural Society's presentation at Yellowhead County
Council, Councillor Sandra Cherniawsky asked, "Where is your shortfall
and what were you hoping for from the County?" Davis responded, "We
were hoping to come up with a quarter of the costs from local municipal
Mayor Gerald Soroka added, "From the sound of things I am gathering
you are asking about a half a million dollars from Town and County."
"Yes," said Davis. "We would like to partner with both municipalities and
hope to involve anybody who wants to be a part of this."
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