City of Red Deer taking over financial oversight of Westerner Park

The City of Red Deer is assuming temporary financial oversight of Westerner Park because of financial challenges.

Westerner Park is a non-profit organization and agriculture society. It hosts concerts and trades shows, weddings and banquets, hockey games and agricultural events and drives more than $150 million of regional economic activity. It is now, however, looking for financial support from the city.

“As a key organization to the economic health of the region and from our commitment to the community, we are compelled to be open and transparent with the community in our current circumstances,” said Janice Wing, President and Board Chair of Westerner Park.

“Westerner Park is facing some significant financial challenges, and it is important we tell the community what we plan to do about it.”

The decision to expand the facility, major event contract negotiations, and Alberta’s economic downturn has led to the financial instability at Westerner Park.

The city will work with Westerner Park to make it viable again.

“The city will assume financial oversight so Westerner Park can continue to provide services that are pivotal to our community life and economic development in our city,” said Mayor Veer.

“We have already taken a number of steps to reduce financial pressures,” said Mike Olesen, Westerner Park CEO.

“We remain committed to serving our community through leadership and vision for a venue and community asset that connects people with each other and with their city in invaluable ways.”

The Westerner Park board will provide overall direction to Westerner Park with support and oversight from the city in terms of financial decision-making and approval of Westerner Park’s annual budget.

“Through this process, we endeavor to stabilize operations, which will include an in-depth joint audit with The City of Red Deer to fully assess the current financial situation,” said City Manager Allan Seabrooke.

Already scheduled events will continue as planned but Westerner Park is reviewing contracts related to key major events to ensure they are financially viable for the organization.

Westerner Park photo