Construction on Lethbridge agri-food hub $10M over budget

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Construction on Lethbridge Agri-Food Hub $10M over budget
The Lethbridge and District Exhibition is over budget on its new Agri-Food Hub and Trade Centre. It says additional money is now needed from the city to complete the decommission and deconstruction of the old facility. Quinn Campbell has the details – Mar 16, 2023

Lethbridge and District Exhibition said it is going to cost millions to decommission and demolish three of the old buildings at the site of the new Agri-food Hub and Trade Centre.

Mike Warkentin, CEO of the Exhibition, asked the Economic Standing Policy Committee on Wednesday for up to $4.6 million dollars to cover those costs.

“In order for this facility to fully meet its operational capacity and opportunity, for not only for the City of Lethbridge but also for the region, those facilities need to ultimately come down,” added Warkentin.

Construction started on the new centre in March 2021 with a hefty price tag.

“The original project was $70.6 million — $27.8 million from the Government of Alberta through the Ministry of Agriculture, $25 million from the City of Lethbridge and $17.824 million through the municipality borrowing — approved by council and that loan was taken on by Lethbridge and District Exhibition,” said Warkentin.

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Due to rising costs, the overall budget has grown to just shy of $80 million, nearly $10 million over budget.

Click to play video: 'Alberta Livestock Expo returns to Lethbridge’s Exhibition Park'
Alberta Livestock Expo returns to Lethbridge’s Exhibition Park

When asked if the province has promised any additional funds, Warkentin said both the government and official Opposition acknowledge the importance of the project.

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“Both are very aware of the requirements to get this project across the line and both are very engaged in this project getting across the line. But to answer directly, there are no additional funds to date.”

The Ex had previously requested an additional $6.3 million dollars from the Ministry of Irrigation and Agriculture, and that ask remains on the table.

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The city’s economic standing policy committee unanimously passed a motion asking the exhibition for progress payment amounts, current operating budgets and timelines to be presented at the next meeting in April.

Any additional funds will require final approval from city council.

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