More expansion wanted at Westerner

A 2012 project to add more seats to the Centrium needs to be followed by more facility expansions so Westerner Park isn’t forced to turn business away, said the board president.

A 2012 project to add more seats to the Centrium needs to be followed by more facility expansions so Westerner Park isn’t forced to turn business away, said the board president.

Michael Donlevy, who was re-elected to the Westerner board at Wednesday’s annual general meeting, said the present trade and exhibition space can’t meet growing demand.

About 100 businesses are on a waiting list for booth space during the Agri-Trade show, for instance, said Donlevy.

“We’re not in a position, with Agri-Trade, that we can expand — we’re inside, we’re outside, we’re everywhere,” he added.

Early in 2012, the Westerner Park board plans to meeting with government representatives to stress the need for more trade and exhibition space.

The board is seeking 70,000 additional square feet, which would cost about $30 million to build. Donlevy said the board would look at paying for part of this out of revenues, but would need support from all levels of government.

Westerner Park also needs about 130,000 additional square feet of conference space, costing about $45 million.

Chief Executive officer John Harms said he’d love to get financing for both projects at once, but realistically, will probably have to look at doing it in two phases, with the extra trade space being the priority.

The subject has already been broached with government, but Westerner Park officials were previously told the tighter economy has led to less provincial spending. Donlevy believes it’s a matter of keeping the request on the government’s radar, and waiting for conditions to improve and purse strings to loosen.

He hopes the new facilities can be started within the next few years.

Meanwhile, Westerner Park will be expanding the Centrium by 1,000 seats and 14 luxury box suites next year. The project, which will be built directly above the main doors into the arena, is expected to be completed by the late fall of 2012.

Donlevy believes this $3.6 million expansion, financed by the province, Red Deer City, County, and Westerner Park revenues, will make the arena more marketable for a wider variety of events. He hopes to get more “A-level” acts such as comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who performed here in October.

Centrium revenues were down because fewer entertainers are touring while electricity costs have risen, but Westerner Park managed to finish 2011 with a net profit of $261,000, which is about the same as last year. In total, Westerner Park made about $6.4 million in gross revenues.

Donlevy called the 2011 Westerner Days, which brought in $1.6 million gross — or about $100,000 more than last year — a resounding success. He also said he’s looking forward to bringing in more special events, such as the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, a major curling championship that’s returning in February.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Energy Minister Sonya Savage speaks during an event to mark the start of right-of-way construction for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, in Acheson, Alta., Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. A committee that is supposed to consult Albertans on coal development in the Rocky Mountains won't be able to ask questions about water or land use. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta coal consultation terms of reference rule out land use, water concerns

Alberta coal consultation terms of reference rule out land use, water concerns

Brittany Lausen, RDC Students’ Association president. (Advocate file photo).
RDC Students’ Association takes aim at ‘period poverty’ in Red Deer

Vulnerable clients of several non-profits can access free hygiene products

A voter is shown at a Whitehorse polling station during the Yukon election on Monday April 12, 2021. An official count has confirmed a tie in the Yukon election, pushing the process to the next step of a judicial recount. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Kelly
Official count confirms tie in Yukon election, application filed for judicial recount

WHITEHORSE — An official count has confirmed a tie in the Yukon… Continue reading

Lieutenant Commander Nicole Robichaud welcomes members of the Liberian Coast Guard aboard the HMCS Moncton for training with Royal Canadian Navy off the coast of Monrovia, Liberia, Africa. (Contributed photo by Corp. Ryan Moulton)
Red Deer-raised woman finds her sea legs as commander in the Royal Canadian Navy

Cdr. Nicole Robichaud started out as a local sea cadet

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Britain’s Prince Charles, with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, visits the gardens of Marlborough House, London, Thursday April 15, 2021, to look at the flowers and messages left by members of the public outside Buckingham Palace, following the death of Prince Philip. (Jeremy Selwyn/Pool via AP)
Princes William, Harry won’t walk side-by-side at funeral

LONDON — Prince William and Prince Harry won’t walk side-by-side Saturday as… Continue reading

Tilray products such as capsules, oils, and dried marijuana are displayed at their head office in Nanaimo, B.C., on November 29, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Vote by Tilray shareholders on Aphria merger deal delayed until April 30

NANAIMO, B.C. — A vote by Tilray Inc. shareholders on the cannabis… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau adjusts his mask as Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson answers a reporter's question during an announcement on the government's updated climate change plan in the Dominion Arboretum in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Wilkinson urges opposition leaders to stop stalling net-zero carbon emissions bill

OTTAWA — Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is urging opposition leaders to end… Continue reading

Gwynne Dyer
Opinion: Biden’s words have no meaning

“If they go, we’ll all have to go. That’s the reality of… Continue reading

opinion
Shadow pandemic: Domestic violence has risen worldwide

The COVID-19 pandemic has left a devastating mark on communities across the… Continue reading

LtE bug
Letter: MLAs expected to toe the party line

I am writing this letter to express my disappointment with my MLA… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green, top centre, prepares to begin practice during the NHL hockey team's training camp in Vancouver, on Friday, January 8, 2021. Media have been barred from the Vancouver Canucks first practice since a COVID-19 outbreak swept through the team. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks’ next game postponed, delaying return from COVID-19 outbreak

Vancouver Canucks’ next game postponed, delaying return from COVID-19 outbreak

Winnipeg Jets' Nikolaj Ehlers (27) celebrates his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs with teammate Mathieu Perreault (85) as Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) skates past during first-period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Thursday, April 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ehlers scores two as Jets chase Campbell early, down Maple Leafs

Ehlers scores two as Jets chase Campbell early, down Maple Leafs

Most Read