"Absolutely overwhelming." That's how Winkler mayor, Martin Harder, described the feeling Tuesday morning as a portion of the city's much anticipated Meridian Exhibition Centre finally opened to the public. The ribbon was cut, officially

Taking the first lap around the indoor track. opening the D.A. Loewen Electric indoor walking track for use.

"We have the Loewen's here doing the grand opening and they're sponsoring the track going forward so, D.A. Loewen, thank you (and the) many other contributors to different parts of the arena that are going to be sponsors ," added Harder, noting there's still some room for additional sponsorships.

Construction of the multi-million dollar facility has long been completed but it remained closed because of COVID-19 health restrictions however, the latest amendments allow for gyms, fitness centres and yoga studios to reopen at 25 per cent capacity.

As those orders slowly begin to loosen and with the arrival of frigid temperatures, Harder agrees, opening the D.A. Loewen (Electric) indoor walking track couldn't have come at a better time.

"And that's why (council) passed a resolution declaring this as a gym so that we could actually fall under that category. We've had no push back from the province so we are grateful," he said.

Those using the facility will be required to follow all safety protocols such as wearing masks, keeping six feet between other users and practicing good hygiene. As well, they will be required to pre-book time slots at winkler.ca/p/winkler-reservations or by calling 204-325-8333. Click here for more information on hours and registration. 

The City says more information will be released in the coming days regarding the opening of the indoor arena and fieldhouse.

Harder and the Loewen family joined by Darrell and Janice Berg who were also representing D.A. Loewen Electric Tuesday morning