Representatives of the Bow Valley Agricultural Society (BVAS) announced at the latest Rocky View County (RVC) Recreation Governance Committee meeting on Feb. 7 that the organization has raised over $1.5 million for the proposed Indus Arena Expansion project, fulfilling the Society’s funding agreement with the County.
At the meeting, BVAS president David Place said the Society’s next step in gathering funds for the $10 million arena expansion project will be when the provincial government’s Treasury Board either accepts or denies the BVAS capital funding request.
“[March] is when we learn our fate,” Place said to the committee. “We believe we have a very strong business case.”
For the past two years the Society’s request for provincial funds has been denied by the Treasury Board, but after acquiring the mentorship of a business plan development expert from the provincial government, Place has high hopes this year.
In January, the area expansion site was toured by the Minister of Tourism and Sport Joseph Schow and Chestermere-Strathmore MLA Chantelle de Jonge. Place noted that both members were impressed by the work already done by the BVAS.
Originating back in 2006, Indus Arena Expansion project has had a long road to travel. Just last year, the BVAS applied to the County for a building permit, which they hope to have approved by council sometime this year. Back in 2021, RVC formally confirmed the arena expansion as a “priority” in the adopted Master Recreation Plan.
As a condition of the County’s funding policy for projects with a projected cost of $1,000,000 or more, applying organizations must provide at least 15 per cent of the funding. In the BVAS’s projections, the total cost for the arena expansion project is $10,196,825, which meant the Society had to raise $1,529,524.
In the end, the Society raised just over that at $1,571,131.
Committee members congratulated the Society on exceeding their funding goals.
“My first time as a councillor in 2006 we were dealing with this,” said Division 7 Coun. Al Schule, who represents Langdon– which will also benefit from the expansion once completed. “Congratulations.”
Aside from any potential Treasury Board funding approval, Place said the immediate next steps for the BVAS will be looking for an agreed upon land transfer between Rocky View Schools and the County to accommodate for the proposed storm pond location.
According to Place, the Society hopes to finalize the development and building permits. and for construction to break ground on the site sometime later in 2024.
“Our goal this year is to celebrate a groundbreaking ceremony during Junefest,” said a hopeful Place. “It will be a wonderful opportunity to kick start the progress [of the arena expansion] going forward.”
Later in the same meeting, the committee approved a three-year operational recreation and culture funding agreement for the BVAS with a unanimous vote. According to the County’s committee report, the funding agreement will allow for a better sense of financial security for the BVAS when planning its operational budget.