Regina city council passes funding proposal on stadium
Regina city council is pledging that no aspect of a proposed new stadium has been decided yet even as they pass a funding outline that seeks money from all three levels of government.
On Monday night city council members passed an initial funding proposal for the massive Regina Revitalization project and the new stadium that goes along with it.
The document seeks a whopping $380 million from the public with $250 million going to fund the stadium itself.
City council has faced extensive criticism for not being more open with the details of the plan. However, city staff and council itself are adamant that there is no information that has been shared with council that the public hasn't already seen.
Councillor John Findura is stressing that passing this proposal doesn't mean that the details of the project have been decided. In fact the city still has time to call the project off if they decides there's no support.
"I want to see how this opens up because you have to investigate, you can't just shove something down and forget about it," he explained
Meanwhile, councillor Louis Browne is insisting the project is a great opportunity for Regina.
"This is a very unique opportunity to provide at three different sites, the CP lands, Mosaic Stadium and then at Evraz Place, at each of those sites something new and wonderful and powerful," he said.
Councillor Wade Murray also says the revitilization plan will drastically help the city's housing crisis.
"The province has a right and they have a responsibility to supply housing. They are very much aware of that, they have to supply housing so we need to give them an environment to do that in," Murray said.
He went on to describe the best assets of the location chosen for the revitalization project because it is minutes from downtown close to the airport, schools and shopping.
"It's surrounded by character homes with mature trees and low property taxes, it's an absolutely beautiful place to put a whole new development," Murray commented.
Nearly all councillors spoke in favour of moving forward on the plan trying again to convince skeptics that the 100 year old Mosaic Stadium just isn't suited to a renovation.
Murray compared the current stadium to an old car that's had all it's major parts replaced but just can't go any further.
"It's time to replace something that's archaic, it's old, it's worn out. We talked about the old ford, yeah you can put high, bright, super-good headlights into it but you can't really change the whole machine," Murray commented.
Councillor Chris Szarka carried the car metaphor further.
"Mosaic Stadium is run down, the floorboards are out, we can see the road," he said.
Councillor Michael Fougere wasn't alone when he noted that the final costs, design, and the private sectors ultimate role won't be decided until after negotiations for the CP Rail lands conclude.
"It may well be that there is more generosity and participation by the private sector and other participants to see, maybe it will be a domed stadium. Maybe it will be an open air stadium that can be altered later on," Fougere said.
He commented that by looking at the report, council is not saying that it will be an open air stadium or nothing. He said they are in agreement that they like the work that is being done.
While he was quiet during the meeting, Councillor John Findura insisted afterwards that he's willing to say no to major projects if they just don't make financial sense.
"It's very evident from this document that we put before the province that our number one issue will have to be affordability," he said.
Every councillor but Ward 2's Jocelyn Hutchinson spoke out in favour of the project.
City staff said a final funding formula and design for the stadium are still weeks, if not months, away.
At the meeting council pledged that no major decisions would be made without informing the public first.
Edited by News Talk Radio's Adriana Christianson