By Lawrence Powell
A new horse barn taking shape at the Annapolis Valley Exhibition grounds in Lawrencetown is slowing traffic through the village these days as motorists spot the red siding on the massive building that replaces a pair of old and inadequate structures.
Barns 7 and 8 are gone -- replaced by a 120-by-72-foot building that also includes an extended roof on the west for another 96-by-14-foot 'shed.' In all, the barn (divided in two down the middle) will house 57 roomy box stalls.
"That's a huge improvement in the facilities to house our light horses," said exhibition manager Rachel Taylor Friday as she showed the in-progress construction to West Nova MP Greg Kerr and Annapolis County Warden Reg Ritchie. The federal government and county were both major financial contributors to the project. Also checking it out were Lawrencetown village commissioners Jaki Fraser and Brian Reid.
She praised the county and ACOA for their contributions, but also said the project would be possible without some local help.
"We are very grateful to... all of our volunteers and local contractors who have donated resources and time to make this wonderful structure a reality," she said. "We are running ahead with the build right now, using local contractors and materials, and hope to be finished for July. We will of course be completely finished before exhibition rolls around."
Taylor said two 12-foot concrete walkways will allow safe passage down each side of the new light horse barn, and a 100-foot agricultural 'curtain' system will open on the east side to allow good ventilation and natural light.
The interior spruce boards, thousands of feet of it, were cut and milled locally. Parts of the old barns have been saved, including such things as carved names an intitials on barn board, will eventually be mounted for display inside the new barn.
Besides the new light horse barn, there are other improvements at the exhibition. Taylor said the 88-foot-long, rickety old bleachers on the south side of the main ring will be replaced with new aluminum bleachers.
"They go back further than the old wooden bleachers to allow for more seating," she said. "As well, we will be lifting all of the bleachers on that side 18 inches to allow for increased visibility when seated on the lower bleachers. This will pretty much complete our bleacher replacement program for the main ring."
For competitors, the main ring will be a better place as well. It was completely dug out last fall and drainage tile and gravel replaced. In addition, plastic weave was placed over the tile and gravel to stop travel.
"This will add to the safety and effectiveness of the main ring for our competitors," Taylor said.
The 2012 Annapolis Valley Exhibition runs from Aungust 20 to 25.