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City Council gets April update from Exhibition

Members of City Council received the first of monthly reports from Lethbridge & District Exhibition (LDE) today which highlighted the success of the recent Ag Expo and looked ahead to the summer Farmers’ Markets and Whoop-Up Days celebration. The report was presented at the Economic Standing Policy Committee (SPC), providing a transparent overview of the organization’s finances and operations.

Acting CEO Kim Gallucci, shared with the committee that while the November to February deficit of $341,194 is slightly better than projected, this reporting period does include Ag Expo, a major revenue generator for LDE. The initial budget projections estimated a $6.5 million shortfall in 2024 but work is ongoing to make every effort to reduce that.

“We are encouraged to see the strong fiscal practices and leadership now in place at LDE,” says Mayor Blaine Hyggen. “This gives a very clear, open and transparent picture of the finances and operations. City taxpayers deserve that information and need to be able to see the work happening to reduce the funding gap to make the Agri-food Hub & Trade Centre more sustainable into the future.”

Following the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between LDE and the City of Lethbridge earlier this year, City Council requested monthly financial updates on the operations of the Agri-food Hub & Trade Centre. This ongoing fiscal reporting will show a continuous cumulative update by month, giving a clear snapshot of where the organization is, at that point in time.

“We have made some positive changes that are definitely helping,” says Gallucci. “But we also know we will have some expenses over the next quarter related to Whoop-Up Days that will impact that bottom line. We want to manage expectations on what our monthly reporting will look like as there will always be a spike in expenses before revenues from those events come in.”

LDE staff continue to do everything they can to find efficiencies and secure new business to reduce the operating deficit. LDE has booked 25 new events in the last two months and is continuing to aggressively expand its reach and bookings into the future. There are currently 120 events in the 2024 fiscal year with the goal of reaching 200.

“We have restructured our team to best meet the immediate need of bringing in new business and expanding our reach,” says Gallucci. “We had amazing feedback from vendors at Ag Expo who are committed to coming back and we are seeing interest building in the community, across Alberta and throughout Western Canada for hosting events at the Agri-Food Hub & Trade Centre.”

On the operations side of the business, electrical deficiencies in the south parking lot have been identified which require immediate attention as LDE prepares for the outdoor events season. The work is estimated at $100,000 which will be funded through the lifecycle fee for service budget set aside by Council. LDE will provide an update on this work at the May Economic SPC meeting.

As part of the MOU, a third-party review of LDE operations was also initiated. City administration is currently working on this project which is in the procurement process. To date, no funds have been spent on this review.

A new governance structure is now in place at LDE including a new board comprised of administration from the City of Lethbridge and Lethbridge County.

In addition to LDE’s internally-produced events, the Agri-food Hub & Trade Centre has recently hosted successful high-profile rental events such as the Southern Alberta Home, Garden and Leisure show in March and the Southern Alberta Outdoors Show this past weekend. Upcoming events include the Lethbridge Handmade Market this Saturday, the High Level Innovation Conference and the 2024 Alberta E-Sports Championship, which both take place on May 3 and 4. For a full list of upcoming events visit:


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