May 18th, 2024

SPC gets monthly financial update from Exhibition


By Lethbridge Herald on May 9, 2024.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman The Exhibition is currently working on parking lot improvements, including pothole filling, line painting and signage, work was previously budgeted and not requiring any additional funding.

Acting CEO of the Lethbridge & District Exhibition Kim Gallucci on Tuesday gave the Economic and Finance Standing Policy Committee of city council the monthly financial statement for May.

Following a Memorandum of Understanding between the City and LDE earlier this year, council requested monthly financial reports which began in April.

Initial budget projections estimated a $6.5 million shortfall for LDE in 2024. Staff continue to work diligently to reduce expenses, become more efficient and generate new revenue, says the City in a release.

Expenses required to prepare for Whoop-Up Days, and the newly developed Agri-Food Innovation Expo, have the organization sitting at a deficit of $752,786 as of March 31. This is up from $341,194 reported on the Feb. 29 month-end summary.

“The nature of this business is that you often have to pay money up-front for events that won’t happen until later in the year,” says Gallucci in the release.

“The exciting news is we are planning two really great signature events in the second half of 2024 that will be fantastic for our community.”

The Agri-food Innovation Expo was hosted in Red Deer last fall and will come to Lethbridge from Nov. 26-28. LDE released details of this year’s Whoop-Up Days events to the public Wednesday. Whoop-Up Days runs from Aug. 20-24.

In an effort to provide further transparency and information to the public, a new online resource has been developed at https://getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/lethbridge-district-exhibition. This site will serve as the hub for any City news and council decisions regarding LDE.

“I get a lot of question in the community about the partnership between the City and LDE,” says mayor Blaine Hyggen in the release.

“This new resource is a great place to get regular updates and to look back on the decisions that have been made to-date. This is a complex topic and we want to be as open as we can with our residents about how we are supporting this important investment in our community.”

As part of the MOU, a third-party review of LDE operations was also initiated. City administration has completed the scope documents for the components of the review and is currently in the selection phase of the firm(s) to complete the work.

“We have a busy summer planned at the Agri-food Hub & Trade Centre,” says Gallucci. “With Farmers’ Markets starting again soon and of course Whoop-Up Days later this summer, it is important that visitors have a positive experience and want to return for more events.”

LDE is currently working on parking lot improvements including pothole filling, line painting and signage. These improvements not only extend the life of the parking lot but they also improve safety and enhance the overall customer experience. This work was previously budgeted and will not require any additional funding.

April and early-May brought a flurry of activity to the Agri-food Hub & Trade Centre, including a full venue last weekend when visitors from across the province attended the High Level Innovation Conference, the 2024 Alberta E-Sports Championship, and Geek Fest, which all took place simultaneously. Earlier in the month, the venue hosted both the Lethbridge Handmade Market and City & Baby trade show.

In April, Lethbridge & District Exhibition booked nearly 25 new events for the coming months, including everything from large public events, to mid-size conferences, and small meetings, which continues an upward trend of new bookings for LDE. For a full list of upcoming events visit: https://www.agrifoodhub.ca/agri-food.

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