When the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association (NTFFRA) held a planning meeting five years ago to map the future of their Association they created a time line that took them well into that future. Part of that time line included where the organization wanted to be in five years, and what improvements to their fairground property in Barriere should be planned for. One of those improvements was to erect a large building that could not only house livestock events, but could also serve as a multi-use facility.
On March 14 the NTFFRA publicly announced their intention to start the project this year, and to also launch a fundraising campaign towards construction of the building.
Since then, generous supporters have stepped forward with their cheque books in hand. Supporters such as Barb and Carman Smith, who last week gave the project a huge leap forward with their donation of $100,000; and this week that donation was generously matched with an additional $100,000 by the Jim Family who are longtime Little Fort residents.
“I first heard about the concept of the building from reading the Star/Journal newspaper when I was home three weeks ago,,” said Kym Jim, “We became sold on the concept after family members had conversations with the Smith’s and Ian Mitchell.”
Well known for their outstanding Hereford cattle and Little Fort Herefords, the family also owns and operates Jim’s Food Markets in Little Fort and Clearwater. Jim Family members include; father – Gung Loy Jim, mother – Marie Jim; and their sons Kam and wife Pam, Kee and wife Camille, Kyn and wife Melissa, and Kym.
“The Fall Fair is the source of many early childhood memories for all of our family,” said Kym, “The memories of early mornings driving from Little Fort to tend the cattle at the Fall Fair, both in 4H and in open classes, usually with our father, as mom was always looking after things at home. Showing cattle, and most of all just participating.”
He tells that he and younger brother, Kyn, have memories of participating in work bees to build what was then the new dairy barn many years ago on the fairgrounds and helping to put the roof on when only about 12-years-old; plus countless other memories and friendships.
Asked why the family are in support of the Agriplex project, Kym said, “Agriculture, and our experiences with it have been integral in shaping our family’s lives, and we just felt that this was one of the best ways to recognize this, and ensure that other generations of children in the North Thompson Valley can experience this. As Carmen Smith said, this will ensure the long term viability of the Fall Fair. We also have a great deal of confidence in the executive leading this initiative, and will be really excited to see the finished product, and the long term benefits that the project will provide the community.”
NTFFRA president Donna Kibble says the generosity and confidence in the project shown by the Jim Family and the Smiths is exemplary.
“We cannot say enough about how exciting it is to see this project take such a huge jump forward with this additional donation. Now we have been able to move our time line forward by a considerable amount and hope to have the shell of the building up by fall fair time this year.”
Rough plans on the building design to date show it will be a multi-use facility with a 100’x200’ clear span area suitable for agricultural and numerous other events. Outside measurements of the facility may be 150’x200’, and will include indoor bleachers, office, commercial exhibit area, and more.
The NTFFRA Agriplex Committee are hoping they will be ready to order the building as early as next week once all manufacturer’s quotes have been received. Members of the committee include; Karl Rainer, Jill Hayward, Donna Kibble, Ken Beharrell, Dick Ross, Greg Smith, Ian Mitchell, Darcy Feller, Robbie Kerslake, and Jo and Brian Watt.
“We’re right on track with our five year plan,” said NTFFRA president Donna Kibble in an interview last Friday, “This is a very exciting time for our Association. We are making a number of applications for grants to help with the building costs as well; we continue to move forward and realize our goals. I am so impressed with our members, volunteers, and the wonderful people who have stepped forward to help us make this major project become a reality for everyone. All we can say is thank you so much, you are truly what community is all about.”
If you would like more information about the Agriplex building or would like to make a donation to the project please call Donna Kibble at 250-672-5672, Jill Hayward at 250-319-8023, or Anja Mitchell at 250-672-9309.