EnCana Events Centre exceeds expectations for first half of year

The report showed as of June 30, the events centre hosted 29 events compared to the 27 that were projected for the first half of the year. As a result, total attendance was up to just under 27,000 compared to the projected attendance of 24,200, and gross revenue was $2.14 million compared to a budget projection of $1.24 million to June 30.

“I think over our first, second, and now into our third year, we keep building upon our successes and that momentum keeps building,” said Ryan McIvor, general manager of the facility with Global Spectrum Management.

He added those figures were no doubt bolstered by the sold-out KISS concert on June 30.

However, gross operating expenditures were also up to $2.66 million compared to the budgeted amount of $2.07 million to June 30. McIvor said there are many variables that determine whether each show they host will be profitable, but they are constantly looking for efficiencies and economies-of-scale to bring those costs down.

The City of Dawson Creek’s operating subsidy paid to the events centre as of June 30 was $524,000, compared to the $1.68 million budgeted for the whole year. Another $500,000 has been allocated for capital improvements to the facility, mainly for changes to the rigging steel in the arena to allow for different configurations of the stage during concerts.

“Instead of just being able to put concerts at the stage end, where every concert has been played, we will be able to put the stage at the red line at centre ice,” said McIvor, “and therefore we can bring in smaller shows and more variety of shows because of the ability to scale the venue in an appropriate manner for the artist.”

Those figures also don’t include the subsidy the City of Dawson Creek is providing the EnCana Events Centre’s anchor tenant, the Dawson Creek Rage Junior ‘A’ hockey team. As of June 30, the total subsidy paid to the team was $321,000, and following a decision by city council in July, the total commitment to the team was increased by $102,000 to just over $777,000.

The Rage begins its second season in the Northern American Hockey League in September, and will play 17 home games – including exhibition games – in the events centre in this calendar year.

The activity doesn’t seem to be slowing down at the events centre, as over the next few months it will host Godsmack, Big and Rich and Gretchin Wilson, Professional Bull Riding, King of the Cage, Gordon Lightfoot, and a Community Futures BC Annual Conference.

McIvor said the figures regarding the facility don’t tell the whole story in terms of the economic spinoffs of hosting all those events.

“People are going out for dinner, staying at hotels, buying gas, et cetera, and the events centre is doing what it is supposed to do, which is attract people from Fort St. John, Grande Prairie and further than that.”

He applauded the citizens of Dawson Creek and city councils present and past for having the vision to make the city the “events capital of the Peace region,” saying he believes that vision is coming to fruition and the community should be proud of what it has to offer.