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New home . . . Waimate Shears executive officer Eileen Smith, president Warren White, Tony Smith and Colin Butler at the new pavilion at the Southern Canterbury A and P Association's showgrounds in Waimate. PHOTO: SALLY RAE

A pair of milestones will be celebrated at this year’s Waimate Shears.

Not only will the annual event be held for the 50th time, it will be staged in a new, purpose-built facility at the Southern Canterbury A & P Association Showgrounds in Waimate.

The almost 900sq m building, owned by the Southern Canterbury A&P Association, which worked with the Waimate Shears group on its design and fundraising activities, is nearing completion, with only a few finishing touches left to complete.

Waimate Shears president Warren White said he was impressed with what had been achieved since construction started in November.

“It’s going to be really good. It’s brilliant. It’s a lot flasher than we thought it was going to be.”

The facility features a hall with a concrete floor, kitchen, dining room, office, toilets and showers. It is expected to cost $750,000.

It replaces the former long-time home of the Waimate Shears, Waimate Stadium, which was replaced by the multi-million dollar Waimate Event Centre.

Mr White said the new building was essentially a like-for-like replacement.

“We just replaced what we had, really. It means there’s no worries about noise and things like that and it will be easier for trucks and that sort of thing, and it’s warmer.”

He anticipated other events, such as the March Hare Motorcycle Rally and Southern Canterbury A&P Show, could use the facility, while functions including 21st birthdays and wedding receptions could also be held there.

“It’s going to be quite a key venue to use.

“There’s going to be no money owned on it. It’s only going to have to cover the basics like insurance, rates, power and gas. The more use it gets, the cheaper it will be to use.”

The Waimate Shears take place on October 13 and 14.

Mr White hoped to introduce an invitational speed shearing challenge and an intermediate blade shearing competition if there was enough interest, which would be the only one in the world, he said.