It’s shiny and new – and ready for the mess of livestock.
The first phase of the International Trade Centre at Evraz Place is complete, just in time for the 2016 Canadian Western Agribition on Nov. 21-26.
“Even half done, this building is 10 times better than the buildings it replaced,” Agribition CEO Chris Lane said.
And exhibitors are taking note.
“Honestly, we have as many animals as we can handle. We’re at capacity,” Lane said.
He said there will be more than 1,500 show cattle, in addition to a full roster of commercial cattle. He said those numbers are “pretty on par” with last year’s event.
“That’s a good sign for us. That means that despite the transition year between the buildings that people and exhibitors still want to be part of Agribition,” Lane said.
“I think we’ll have a lot of gawkers, a lot of rubberneckers, come through the building and that’s good. Rightfully so, we’re proud of it.”
Big picture for big trade centre
At 150,000 sq. ft. and with a price tag of $37 million, the trade centre will be multi-purpose. Right now, its set up for livestock at this year’s Agribition, including fully-functional wash racks. But it’s also been built with the Canada’s Farm Progress Show in mind – with big doors designed to let farm equipment like combines and tractors in.
They also hope multi-purpose spaces, like a big mezzanine that won’t be ready for use in Agribition, will bring more business to the Evraz Place – and Regina.
It was Regina Mayor Michael Fougere’s first time inside the building.
“It’s about $130 billion economic jolt to our economy which is very, very significant for us,” he said.
“We’re going to be trying to find lots of uses for it, lots of trade shows that’ll be happening throughout the year.”
The federal government also played a role, matching what the province and city of Regina contributed to the project – $11 million. Canadian Western Agribition and the Regina Hotel Association also helped fund the project.
“Without all that co-operation, this never would have happened,” said provincial Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart.
“This will be the largest interconnected facility of its kind in Canada and one of the largest in North America. That’s something to be proud of.”
The second phase of the project is expected to be completed in November 2017, in time for next year’s Agribition.