Should Taxpayers Support the Redevelopment Plan at Lethbridge Exhibition Park?

April 11, 2013 :: Rudy Friesen
Moderated by Dianne King

The Board of Directors of Lethbridge and District Exhibition approved a development plan for Exhibition Park that represents 3 years of comprehensive examination, including a financial review, facility condition audit of all buildings, needs and market assessments, and a multiple accounts evaluation framework study to arrive at the preferred site for redevelopment. Along with conceptual designs of a new Trade and Convention Centre and Agriplex, the redevelopment plan contains a thoroughly vetted business case that demonstrates long-term sustainability.

The Lethbridge and District Exhibition has taken the Redevelopment Plan to Lethbridge City Council on March 25 and requested $25 million from the CIP. The provincial and federal governments are being asked to each contribute $25 million and the Exhibition and partners will contribute the other $15 million for a total price tag of $90 million. Will the redevelopment be worth the contribution from Lethbridge taxpayers? What value does the Exhibition bring to Southern Alberta?

Speaker: Rudy Friesen

Rudy was raised on a farm south of Saskatoon. After attending the University of Saskatchewan, he returned to the farm in the mid 1980s to find the economy less than ideal so he pursued other interests, including six years in radio, followed by work as the Executive Director of two different non-profit agricultural education and advocacy organizations. This led him to the Prairieland Park in Saskatoon, where his career in the exhibition industry began as Prairieland’s Agriculture Manager in 1993. He served as President of the Board of the Saskatchewan Association of Agricultural Societies and Exhibitions in 1995/96. In 1999, Rudy moved to the Swift Current Exhibition as General Manager and in 2002 he became General Manager at Exhibition Park in Lethbridge. He continues to support the efforts of the exhibition industry throughout North America having served five years on the Board of the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions, including a term as President, and two years as the Canadian Associations appointment to the International Association of Fairs and Exhibitions.

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