Here’s a link to a status update on the Regina Revitilization Initiative that I believe will be presented to City Council at its April 30 meeting. Reviewing it, several interesting points jump out.
First, negotiations to acquire the CP lands between downtown Regina and the Warehouse District are ongoing, but substantial progress has apparently been made, and the city is hopeful of concluding negotiations before the end of May.
As far as funding goes, the report notes that both the provincial and federal government have put the kibosh on funding a stand-alone sports facility. The broader scope of the RRI, which would involve the redevelopment of the old Mosaic Stadium site should a new stadium be built, might open the door to some provincial and federal involvement, but nothing concrete has been hammered out at present.
The really interesting stuff starts on page four under the heading Stadium Design Considerations. The authors of the report acknowledge that the push so far has been for a fixed or retractable roofed stadium that would qualify as a multi-purpose entertainment facility (proposed design pictured above). While there would be some initial economic spinoffs from the construction of such a facility, which was costed several years ago at $431 million, but now would surely cost substantially more, the report concludes that such facilities entail significant operating expenses and experience in other North America cities has shown that they cannot generate enough revenue to be self-sustaining. That’s why most stadiums that are being built these days, in cities far larger than Regina, are open air.
On page seven, the report turns its attention to the stadium location. Again, the authors acknowledge that the push has been to locate the stadium on the soon to be vacated CP lands, with the goal of creating a magnet for activity in the downtown area and Warehouse District. But the report suggests that Evraz Place should not be overlooked as a possible location for a new stadium. That’s city-owned property, and it could create synergies with existing facilties in the area like Brandt Centre, Co-operaters Centre, the Fieldhouse and Lawson Aquatic Centre. It would still be possible to build connections with the downtown and Warehouse District, and would also leave the CP lands and current Mosaic Stadium site available for mixed-use redevelopment.
I’m not saying that I agree with everything in the report, but it at least stays within the realm of reality as opposed to most of the pie-in-the-sky talk that’s driven the agenda so far.