The Winkler business community had a chance to voice feedback and concerns on the scaled-back Meridian Exhibition Centre design. Without an influx of government funding, the expanded second arena and multi-use exhibition hallhas been scaled back to a modest budget of $17 million.
While scaled back in scope, designers have taken the ideas of the original plan and reimagined them in a smaller space. The new design allows the multi-use space and arena to double in size with future expansions.
The challenge remains creating a facility that serves the entire community, both recreation and industry needs.
While there remains a vocal need for quality indoor turf for sports like soccer, baseball, lacrosse and cricket, some local business leaders expressed concern over flooring.
A floor surface that could withstand the weight of large equipment for trade shows would mean a permanent turf floor is impossible. However, some industry representatives say without the ability to showcase their equipment, the exhibition hall wouldn't suit their needs.
Winkler Mayor Martin Harder notes functionality is key, "we can't afford two facilities," he says.
"We're hoping we can build something that is useful for all," Winkler City Manager Barb Dyck, says. "Ultimately Stantec is going to have to figure out what to propose... it's a process."
While a hard surface with a movable turf overlay is possible, some suggested users would prefer a more permanent turf floor.
A public consulation is expected in the coming weeks as well.
The new 23,000 sq. ft multi-use exhibition hall would be connected to the second arena with an atrium. In total, the expansion would have a 62,000 sq. ft. footprint, including a second floor space that would include room for spectating, an indoor track and meeting rooms. The added parking lot would allow for 750 vehicles, with room left specifically to host the annual Harvest Festival on the grounds west of the new facility.
Meridian Manufacturing ownership group, WGI Westman Group Inc. purchased the naming rights for the City of Winkler' multiplex project for the amount of $1,250,000.