April 12th, 2024

Future of Enmax Centre focus of report to SPC


By Lethbridge Herald on March 26, 2024.

A report on a master plan for the future of the Enmax Centre to be presented Thursday to the Governance Standing Policy committee of city council looks at issues with the facility and the possibility of replacing it. Herald photo by Al Beeber

Al Beeber – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – abeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The Governance Standing Policy committee of Lethbridge city council on Thursday will hear a presentation on a master plan for the Enmax Centre which considers a possible replacement of the facility.

The SPC meets at 1:30 p.m. in council chambers.

It consists of Belinda Crowson, Jenn Schmidt-Rempel, Rajko Dodic and acting mayor John Middleton-Hope.

A report to be presented by Enmax Centre general manager Kim Gallucci, as well as Michael Soll and Kevin Dennis of the Innovation Group, says the facility has undertaken development of a plan to determine the direction in shaping its future and programming for the next 10 to 20 years.

The report was completed by the Innovation Group.

The report to the SPC says the 5,000-seat building was constructed in 1974 to hold the 1975 Canada Winter Games and to provide a legacy for the city to host other events.

It underwent a three-year, $33.7 million renovation which was finished in 2012, work that expanded the capability of the Enmax Centre to host events ranging from regional to international in scope. That renovation included the addition of 18 luxury suites, improvements to concessions and washrooms, a new press box and the development of the Canadian Western Bank Lounge.

The report says the well-maintained facility has a positive life of 15 years operationally and for programming in its current form.

But it says facility constraints that impact customer experience and service delivery which have been identified by stakeholders, hockey fans, promoters and the public can’t be addressed with minor improvements.

It says the centre could be used for recreational or other programming purposes beyond those 15 years or the land could be sold and converted to other uses. Or a reconstruction could be done on the same site.

The report says replacement planning of the facility should start in the next three years to continue attracting events with the goal of determining a future design, location, financing and replacement in the next 15 years.

The report says a key focus should be to increase the number of 3,000-person events and potentially look at a second anchor tenant, the present sole anchor tenant being the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League.

Seating for hockey games is 5,326 but the facility has a total capacity of 5,900 for the largest events staged there.

The report says the Hurricanes presently have about 1,400 season ticket holders and there are waiting lists for the luxury suites and luxury lounge tickets.

In 2022, the Enmax Centre hosted 119 events with a total attendance of 212,713. Of those, 39 were Hurricanes games with attendance of 119,725. There were 45 entertainment/special events which attracted 81,611 people and 35 other events that had attendance of 11,377.

The busiest events in 2022 were concerts by Bryan Adams and ZZ Top, the Holiday Dreams Cirque, Professional Bull Riders, pow wow and the Brier.

The Hurricanes in 2022 had an average attendance of 4,403 for their top five games with that dropping off to 3,581 when the top 10 games were averaged. For all other games, the average was 2,579.

Total revenue in 2022 was about $8.5 million, compared to pre-COVID levels of $7.8 million in 2019. That increase is due largely to higher demand and ticket pricing for larger entertainment and special events such as Cirque du Soleil and the Brier, as well as modest increases to the prices of food and beverages.

The Enmax Centre gets 12 per cent of gross ticket revenue from the Hurricanes which amounted to $172,184 in 2022.

The report says the 50-year-old facility has several constraints including ticketing booths, lobby/crush space, inadequate traffic flow in the parking lot, an inefficient system for setup and takedown and for hosting Broadway shows, as well as issues with seating and food and beverage.

Seating problems include a lack of space between seats, lack of comfortability and no drink holders. There are also no drink or tray holders available for wheelchair customers.

The report says there are waiting lists and no opportunity to add more capacity to the luxury and luxury lounge seats.

The report says Lethbridge could likely target 15 additional medium to large sized events in the 3,000 plus attendance range at the centre and the city needs additional arena supply to meet existing resident demand.

It notes that stakeholders believe opportunities exist to enhance visitation to the facility for hockey and other events but the threshold is limited based on Lethbridge’s population size and the Enmax Centre’s constraints.

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Citi Zen

Yet another white elephant, bottomless pit for the taxpayer.

Chmie

No one involved with the Agri Hub fiasco should be involved with any aspect of this Enmax study. This especially includes our elected officials. George

biff

indeed!

biff

under $200K from hurricane game tickets?! could they not further tell us how that impacts the bottom line for taxpayers? how much does the building cost us to house a junior hockey team – do we net make money, or lose money?
as much as i love to see live music events and the likes of the cirque, the building seems very much a massive money pit. run it over, let’s stop the pocket lining of the hurricanes group.

Lethson

Any plans to construct a new facility in Lethbridge need to include energy harvesting systems, such as solar panels and geothermal heating & cooling, in order to make these facilities much cheaper to operate. The city’s refusal to do this with the Exhibition contributed to significant operational cost overruns.



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