The Stettler Agriculture (Ag) Society is embarking on a renovation of its rodeo grounds in the Town of Stettler, and council may pitch in and help out.
Some suggestions were made at the Apr. 5 regular meeting of council.
Stettler Ag Society representatives Ty Wilson, Monty Gertner and Rocky Ross appeared as a delegation before council to explain rodeo grounds renovations with a few suggestions on how the Town of Stettler could help if council was so inclined.
Wilson began by stating the COVID pandemic was hard on everyone but was really hard on agriculture societies but with that said he added it’s important for the organization to move forward.
Wilson stated that the community over the past two years has shown tremendous support for the Stettler Ag Society which has been encouraging.
He continued by saying the society tried its best to operate during the pandemic and last year attracted 50,000 people to events at its facility.
Looking toward the future Wilson noted the society looked at where the organization may be lacking and where efforts should be focused and he noted attention fell on the rodeo grounds’ outdoor facilities which he described as suffering wear and tear and in need of some attention.
The society was also mindful of the possibility the outdoor facilities’ condition might contribute to the venue missing out on some activities. An estimate of the work presented to councillors listed corrals, gates, chutes, fencing and other new infrastructure for the outdoor arena.
He noted once the grounds were closely inspected it was clear the grandstand was still fine.
A letter from Society President Dwayne Martin given to councillors noted, “The cost of the rebuild will be $203,977.25 for the steel and an additional estimated cost of $100,000 for groundwork, electrical upgrade, water lines and grader/loader work.”
During the presentation, Wilson noted some dirt work is also planned to improve drainage on the grounds and make more space available for contestants and events.
As well, the society is planning on installing power so generators won’t be necessary and planting trees to help with dust and sound.
Wilson noted funding has been secured, including grants and a line of credit from a financial institution.
He added that the society had a few suggestions where the Town fo Stettler could help with the project. One area was planting trees between the grounds and street for appearance, privacy and sound issues. The society looked into costs associated with this and it should be $20,000 inclusive.
Mayor Sean Nolls noted councillors wouldn’t be able to make a decision on the suggestion at the council meeting as the proposal would have to be run by town staff first to ensure it’s feasible.
Wilson also asked about the development permit status for the project; Director of Planning and Development Leann Graham was present and stated the application followed the Land-Use Bylaw so should see no issues with approval.
Lastly, Wilson asked if the town would be interested in assisting with the development of a new entrance to the rodeo grounds. During discussion it was stated the design in question would cost about $15,000.
It was also noted the Ag Society would have a sponsor recognition program for this project.
The Ag Society representatives noted based on 2021 numbers it’s possible the rodeo grounds attract about $5 million to the town annually, and with improvements that number could hopefully be doubled or tripled.
Coun. Gord Lawlor told the delegation he was very impressed by the depth and detail of their presentation and it makes it easier for council to make a decision when so much planning is done ahead of time.
Coun. Wayne Smith asked what the timelines of the project would be, and the delegation answered most of the planning and materials are n place and ready to go so the facility could be used this year. Smith said he was in support of the proposal.
“I think it s a fantastic venture,” said Smith.
Councillors passed a resolution to forward the proposal to their committee of the whole meeting for discussion.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter