LETHBRIDGE, AB – Work is getting underway on the long-awaited Agri-food Hub and Trade Centre at Exhibition Park.

It’s starting this week with the removal of 211 trees from the grounds.

Ex Park officials say the majority of those trees are beyond expected life span for their genus and will be harvested and re-used in the building furniture plan or donated in the community.

For each tree removed, a new tree will also be planted in the future landscaping plan.

Staff say no birds of prey habitats were identified in the environmental report, but if some are found, birds will be relocated by protocol to the Alberta Birds of Prey Foundation in Coaldale.

Ward Bros. Construction will be in charge of a massive redevelopment project at Lethbridge Exhibition Park.

The $62 million, 268,000 square foot facility will double current hosting capacity and will be able to accommodate more and larger national and international events with up to 7,000 people.

Once operational, the Agri-food Hub and Trade Centre is expected to contribute more than $90 million every year to the regional economy.