The Canadian Western Agribition may be one of North America’s world class cattle exhibitions and trade shows, but some vendors say they’re working in less than world class conditions.
“It definitely adds more challenge and frustration to the whole thing,” said Clint Oxtoby, who came to Regina from Whitewood to showcase his cattle. He had to bring his own portable gas generator because the electricity required to power his grooming gear kept blowing the building’s circuit breakers.
Vendors also have to deal with a leaky roof. Tarps have been suspended from the ceiling to prevent rainwater from coming into the building, but it is a temporary fix.
These are problems that the facility’s operators are well aware of.
“The property was let to run down over the years, and over the last decade, we’ve reinvested about $80 million in the property,” said Mark Allen, CEO of Evraz Place.
Of the 15 buildings used to house cattle, most of them sit empty throughout the rest of year. and when other buildings in the sprawling complex are competing for funds, it makes for a tough investment call.
The city provides $400,000 a year for the upkeep of Evraz Place, although it costs the company $3-4 million to maintain the complex.
Already, some fixes have been made, but there are still many more to be done.
Evraz Place says it has plans to demolish 14 older structures that are expensive to maintain. The resulting savings would then be applied to fix the others.
The company is also considering looking at additional sources of funding, perhaps from government, perhaps by upping fees.
If you ask Clint Oxtoby, it may not be a bad idea if it means a nicer place to do business.
“For me, it’s beneficial and I would definitely like to see it here, so if I had to pay more, I would pay a little more,” said Oxtoby.