FERGUS, Ont. — As reported earlier today, the Fergus Truck Show is in jeopardy after failed negotiations with neighbouring land owners, which has forced the show management to seek a new site.
The show management was hopeful that an agreement would be reached with an adjacent land owner to the show site, land which is required for parking space and other activities, for the main show which is located at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex, according to Wayne Billings, the show’s chief operations officer.
“After all, the original purpose of the show was to raise money for the addition of the hall to the existing arena,” he says.
According to Billings, in the 23 years of the show, contributions and efforts from the show has seen many improvements to the grounds, including: underground electricity for camping and the trade show; approximately seven acres of increased land use, such as clay and topsoil hauled into grounds to build up low lying areas; improved campsites; and donations for a swimming pool and an additional ice pad.
As attendance increased from the trucking industry, the Fergus Truck Show had no choice but to expand, which caused a dilemma, according to Billings, who recalls one last minute adjustment to the show, to seek parking spots with the show’s adjacent landowner.
“In 2005 we found it necessary at 11 p.m. on the Friday night of the show, to discuss land rental with the farmer, as we had approximately 200 trucks still parked on the road, and nowhere to park them,” he adds.
In the past few years the truck show started to expand its venues, to make the show more family-oriented. In that regard, Billings states that the level of musical entertainment and truck and tractor pulling was increased, and a “Family Fun Zone” was added to appeal to children that attended the show. This also created another opportunity for more fundraising.
“The zone has had such an impact that this past year, the show partnered with ‘Trucking For Wishes’ which raised more than $30,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation,” says Billings.
The profits from the show over the years have proven to be a major boost to the local service groups, he says, with members who also volunteer at the show.
“Many of these people have indicated that without the monies that they receive for working at the show many of their events or causes would be significantly deprived. In the past 23 years, close to $650,000 has been donated back to the community.”
Although talks have ended with the neighbouring land owner, local township officials are working diligently with the Fergus Truck Show to find a new home, or stay on the existing grounds with off-site parking and camping, according to Billings. The show management has learned of three other potential sites, with owners who have expressed interest in holding the event and discussions have begun.
“The Fergus Truck Show is confident that a new site will be found and the show will proceed next year,” says Billings. “This show has become the largest of its kind in North America and is respected in the trucking industry along with the importance of the contribution that it provides to the community.”
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