Within two years, Regina’s Agribition and the Farm Progress Show will have a brand-new venue with the announcement of funding for a new International Trade Centre at Evraz Place.
The majority of the cost of the 150,000-square-foot multi-purpose facility will be split evenly between the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government. Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz joined Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart on Thursday to announce $22 million in combined funding. The City of Regina is expected to provide another $11 million toward the project but that decision still needs to be approved by council. An additional $5.4 million will come from outside sources or private partners.
“We’re a trading nation and when it comes to agriculture, half of everything we grow, we export that so it’s facilities like this that will help us do that,” said Ritz.
The trade centre will replace several old buildings and barns that have fallen into disrepair over the years. Leaking roofs have even led to the suggestion that Agribition organizers would take the historic trade show to a new city if something wasn’t done soon. Ritz said he was well aware of the concern.
“We’re bringing world-class genetics to a third-world building so we need to fix that,” Ritz said.
Agribition CEO Marty Seymour says exhibitors have been getting frustrated with infrastructure problems for years. He says they have been talking about this project for 10 years.
“As we got toward the finish line and this project really started to take shape, our exhibitors were delighted,” he said.
Seymour calls this new venue a “game changer” for Agribition in the future.
“This project allows us to grow. We’re going to take this show to the next level. We’re more festive every year, we’re attracting more people every year, and we’re huge for trade. We contribute $37 million to the economy on an annual basis,” he said.
Regina Mayor Michael Fougere stressed that this will be a multi-purpose facility and it will host far more than two trade events each year. He said the venue could attract more trade shows and there will be space for indoor soccer events as well.
“There’s many, many activities that can happen that will fill the space and fill the time and make it worthwhile,” Fougere said.
City council will discuss the municipal funding for the trade centre on Monday, July 26. Once the project is approved, construction is expected to start on the site between the Ag-Ex Pavilian and the Canada Centre complex in November this year after Agribition. The facility is expected to be complete in time for the event in November 2017.