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Regina Exhibition Association reports nearly $4M net loss in 2020

The Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) reported a loss of nearly $4 million in 2020 in an annual report presented to city council executive committee Wednesday morning.

The City of Regina is the owner and only shareholder of REAL.

The annual report details REAL’s net loss for the year at $3,948,361, compared to 2019 when the net loss totaled $2,195,717.

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The report also shows REAL’s current assets for 2020 at $3,249,233.

REAL received $4,066,855 in government COVID-19 assistance. REAL CEO and president, Tim Reid, recognized all three levels of government for their support during Wednesday’s meeting.

The annual report detailed that REAL applied for and received $3,741,855 in government assistance related to the federal government’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).

REAL also received $325,000 from the Saskatchewan government as part of their COVID-19 relief programs.

Reid also told the executive committee that when COVID-19 first hit the community, REAL anticipated as much as $7 million in financial impact to the operations group.

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He credits government support and “creativity” from his team to come up with ideas to host events and generate revenue. Reid added the financial impact ended up being about $1.5 million.

Ward 4 Coun. Lori Bresciani highlighted a number of events that were hosted on REAL grounds, such as trick-or-treating, fireworks and Iceville. She also praised the COVID-19 vaccination drive-thru which runs on REAL grounds.

“I think in the (COVID-19) times, if it’s only the $1.5-million loss, I think it could have been a lot worse,” Bresciani said.

Another impact of COVID-19 was on employment. At its peak, REAL had about 82 per cent of its staff turned off. Reid explained that many staff members work shift-based hours in ticketing, concessions and cleaning so with events put on pause some staff members went a whole year without working a shift.

Reid told Global News that REAL was able to bring many of their employees back to work at the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s COVID-19 vaccination and testing drive-thru locations.

Read more:
Regina Exhibition Association expects to see loss of $2.5M in 2020, $2M in 2021

“Many of those people that used to scan your ticket at a concert or check your security parking tags when you’re coming to a [Saskatchewan Roughriders] game, now they’re working to support the needs of our health authority, but they’re working,” Reid said.

Reid added that about half of the employees are back to work and he said every month this number rises.

On March 24, city council approved $1,100,000 in grants for REAL as part of the city’s 2021 budget.

Additionally, on Dec. 16, council approved an amendment to the credit facilities outlined in REAL’s loan with HSBC. This amendment raised REAL’s credit facilities to a maximum of $21 million. In December, the outstanding balance on this loan was $5.8 million.

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