Following several years of financial instability, Northlands has finally come to the decision of closing down and handing over operations of two marquee events.
Peter Male, the CEO, stated that starting next month, the events would be handled by Edmonton Explore.
Northlands, which was established back in 1876, is a not-for-profit community service organization. Its primary role is to support the development of Alberta’s agricultural sector.
According to the tentative contract released, the firm will pass on the management and control of Farmfair International and K-Days to the city’s events and tourism corporation as of 5th July.
As soon as the deal comes to a close, the non-profit will wrap up its final operations.
Recently, this organization- which was once a key player in politics- has encountered a number of financial challenges.
For starters, it lost its biggest talent at Northlands Coliseum. Since the Edmonton Oilers moved from the premises and relocated to downtown Rogers Place four years ago, the organization has not managed to secure another tenant.
The situation was so severe that the city had to intervene and take over the arena. The city now also manages the nearby convention centre and horse racing track whilst taking care of the unpaid loans, which are estimated at $48 million.
The Farmfair International and K-Days were the last income streams that Northlands was holding onto. And since the onset of the pandemic, the situation has only gotten worse.
Following talks that the company had with Explore Edmonton and the city, Northlands stated earlier this month that it would call off K-Days for the second year in a row.
Initially, the plan was to hold the event from July 23. By then, the majority of covid-19 restrictions being enforced in Alberta would have been lifted.
Maggie Davison, the CEO of Explore Edmonton Interim, announced that the fair will be revived next year, and by then, it will be a grand event.
As part of the new contract, the city will also be taking over management of the Northlands urban farm, which is located to the west of Borden Park.
Commenting about the handover, the mayor, Don Iveson, remarked that the acquisition of Northlands by Explore Edmonton is something that has always been highly anticipated.
In his view, the city won’t have to put more money into Explore Edmonton if the provincial government continues supporting the events.
The corporation, which is owned by the city, is tasked with advertising and expanding the tourism industry as well as major events and local conventions.
If all goes well, K-Days will be a key income stream for the city.