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Future downtown plans should include option of arena: report

For immediate release: November 7, 2018 - 4:03pm

Any upcoming work to plan for the future of Downtown Saskatoon should consider an arena in the Central Business District. A report to be considered Tuesday by the Governance and Priorities Committee outlines the suggested course.

“As we’ve been asked to do, we carefully reviewed the analysis of whether to renovate or to build new event and convention facilities,” says Director of Planning and Development, Lesley Anderson.

“Considering all factors, the Administration concludes that any future Downtown planning should be developed with the option of a future Arena construction in mind.”

The report points to potential combined benefits between an arena-convention centre and with other Downtown amenities such as restaurants, hotels, and a vibrant shopping district.

“There will need to be a further analysis of Downtown infrastructure,” Anderson says.

“Next we have to explore the effects of any new facilities on roads, parking, water, sewer and how to mitigate potential impacts.”

Additionally, the report outlines future City Councils will have to weigh the benefits of a downtown location, and its role as a catalyst for development against other community goals.

Another report outlines high-level information about what funding may or may not be possible.

“This analysis is not intended to provide funding strategy for such a project,” says Chief Financial Officer, Kerry Tarasoff. “We want the Committee to have some information and to highlight what some of those financing options could look like.”

A number of convention centres have been built in Canada since 2010, and on average, about 25 per cent of the funding came from the municipality.

Since 2005, in cities without NHL teams, on average about 60 per cent of the funding for arenas or stadiums has been funded by the municipality – as is the case with Mosaic Stadium in Regina (62.2%).

Funding of large arena, stadium or convention centre projects include various sources of funds; borrowing remains the largest component and several repayment possibilities are also explained.