NSPEC looking to build on second half of 2016

The general manager of the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition Commission (NSPEC) says an investment is needed to address some of the shortcomings of the complex in Bible Hill.

In a presentation to Truro town council, Joe Nicholson says they don't have a specific financial request from the town yet, but should within the next month.

Nicholson has been on the job for five months, with a new management team and board of directors also in place, and says they've been trying to enhance their role in the community.

The organizational structure was changed, with roles and resources moved from administration to areas that will generate revenue and all in a way that will hopefully not increase expenses.

He says the Provincial Exhibition last summer saw a 50 percent increase in attendance, a 28 percent increase in net income, and over $100,000 in event sponsorships.

Nicholson says they estimate 50,000 people passed through the gates last year, and the vision is to transform the complex into the primary gathering place in the area.

Board member Laurie Jennings told council that financial statements have yet to be audited, but there's a "positive number" at the bottom.

The Municipality of the County of Colchester announced three years ago last month that they would purchase the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition grounds and facilities, but that was squashed by the province, when the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board called the nearly $422,000 loan of the NSPEC and seized its properties and assets.

In addressing town council, NSPEC Board Chairman Stu Rath said the first 18 months under the province didn't go well and it wasn't run any better.

Rath was approached last July to head up the new board.