Saskatchewan: State of the Stadium

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Series guide: State of the Stadium

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Ian Hamilton, The Leader-Post
February 20, 2009

[i]In 1976, the City of Regina commissioned a study to examine the stadium issue in Regina.

The study addressed two possibilities: Renovating Taylor Field and expanding its capacity to 40,000 seats, or building a new stadium on a different site.

To refurbish Taylor Field would have cost $14 million, a little more than half of the $26-million price tag for building new (excluding land acquisition).

Neither project went ahead.

Now, more than 30 years later, there's another stadium conundrum in Regina. Some people think Mosaic Stadium should be modernized, while others believe a new stadium -- either outdoor or domed -- should be built. Both projects would cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The province, which the city hopes will be its partner in the project, is performing a feasibility study on the issue. Mayor Pat Fiacco hopes to see the study by the end of February -- and he hopes it suggests building new.

"If we don't do it now, 20 years from now, someone's going to say, 'They should have done it,' " Fiacco says. "I guarantee that that's the sad truth."

Over the next five publishing days, Leader-Post sports writer Ian Hamilton will examine Regina's stadium situation.

TOMORROW: An overall look at the issue, examining the possibilities and what they mean to the city and the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders.

MONDAY: An examination of the three options -- renovating Mosaic Stadium, building a new outdoor stadium, and building a dome -- and the pros and cons of each.

TUESDAY: A look at one of the key questions surrounding the issue: Who's going to foot the bill? Levels of government, the Roughriders, the private sector and others could be involved.

WEDNESDAY: A chat with current and former members of the Roughriders to find out what they think about the team's possible move out of Mosaic Stadium.

THURSDAY: A look at what the people of Regina think about the issue, based on the results of a poll conducted for the Leader-Post by Sigma Analytics.

© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post[/i]

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State of the Stadium: Renovate, rebuild or relocate?

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By Ian Hamilton,
Leader-Post, February 20, 2009

[i]REGINA -- There’s a move afoot to move a football team.

There’s a debate going on in Regina over the need for a new stadium, the primary tenant of which would be the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Some suggest the club’s current home, Mosaic Stadium, simply needs upgrades to bring it into the 21st century. But proponents of a new facility believe the cost of those renovations would be so high that it would serve the City of Regina better to spend more and build new in another location.

“Taylor Field-slash-Mosaic Stadium has served us well, but I think to pour a bunch of money in just for patchups is money that’s maybe not as wisely spent as a new stadium . . .,? says Roughriders veteran Gene Makowsky. “Those projects aren’t free, but the people in this province deserve a first-class facility.?

Mayor Pat Fiacco agrees.

He’s in favour of a new facility which would be more than just a football stadium. He wants to see a venue built that could play host to everything from sporting events to concerts to trade shows.

“(Building new) provides more opportunities for citizens,? Fiacco says. “When I talk to kids in elementary schools and high schools and to university students about the future of this community, I realize we’re not going to do this for us. It’s about the future.

“This is about the community. It’s not about the Saskatchewan Roughriders alone. It’s bigger than that. This is about building community.?


Doing that costs a pretty penny.

The city, which owns Mosaic Stadium, initially identified $6 million in renovations that are needed immediately to the 63-year-old facility’s infrastructure. But those alterations wouldn’t change the fact the stadium is what Fiacco calls “an old, tired building.?

A feasibility study is being conducted by the provincial government — with which the city hopes to partner to pay for any kind of improvements — to see what options there are.

Fiacco hopes to see that study by the end of February; after that, the city could know what route it will be taking.

“If the feasibility study comes back and says, ‘Y’know what, guys? I know you’re thinking big, but it’s just not doable,’ we have to live with that,? Fiacco says. “We have to do what’s doable — but think it through first. Just don’t dismiss it without doing the work. Why say no automatically? Let’s have a look and see what our options are. What we’re doing right now is reviewing our options.?

Those options include renovating Mosaic Stadium for about $120 million or building a new stadium. The mayor says early estimates for that facility — whether it’s outdoors or domed — are between $300 million and $350 million.

“It’s about investing in your community,? says Fiacco, who stresses Regina taxpayers won’t be asked to pay the whole shot. “I’m expecting the private sector to step up to the plate. If we expect our community to continue to grow and be attractive, it is about having these types of facilities.

“I hear the arguments about, ‘What about homelessness and all of these other things?’ We’re not ignoring any of that. This is a multi-pronged approach to developing a community. We’re not doing something at the expense of another. We’ve never done that in this city and we will never do that in this city.?


Whether the city renovates or builds new, it will need assistance from other levels of government — and that’s where cracks appear in the plan’s foundation.

“(Getting involved) is not a priority for the government of Saskatchewan,? says Christine Tell, the province’s minister of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport who echoes a sentiment previously stated by Premier Brad Wall.

“We talk about the economic downturn and we want to sustain the momentum the province is currently experiencing and keep us in good stead.?

That’s fine by David Seymour, the director of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy’s Saskatchewan office. He notes government has two roles — and neither involves funding a stadium.

“One is to produce things that are difficult to collect payment for and therefore can only be funded through taxes, and two is to redistribute income so that lower-income Canadians can enjoy high living standards,? he says. “The stadium fails those.

“Personally, I think it would be fantastic for Regina to have a stadium. From the point of view of the role of government, it just doesn’t quite square up.?

But those who favour a new facility say Regina could generate big revenue by staging events similar to The Rolling Stones’ visit to Mosaic Stadium in 2006. Proponents say a stadium with more seats and more amenities would result in more spectators and more dollars.

“There is a possibility for more shows to come and if you have the right facility, then that’s one big hurdle you’ve taken,? says Neil Donnelly who, as the vice-president of marketing and events for Evraz Place, helped put the Stones in Mosaic Stadium.

“The cost to do a show in a big stadium versus an arena is the hugest barrier. If you can design it so that it has the infrastructure in place . . . then a lot of those barriers are removed and it becomes more of a viable option for those big tours. If it’s basically just a new version of what we’ve got, I don’t see it being as attractive as some may want to see.?


All a lot of people want to see is a new home for the Roughriders.

Fiacco says there are a number of possible locations for a new stadium, but he’d like to see it in the downtown — and the soon-to-be-vacated CP railyards is one possibility.

Mosaic Stadium, meanwhile, would be demolished and replaced by a new neighbourhood with much of the necessary infrastructure already in place. Other areas also would benefit.

“I know it’s difficult for a lot of people to think bigger than just a stadium,? Fiacco says, “but it’s bigger than just a stadium!?

Those who want a new facility certainly have been thinking big.

“Whether a new stadium is outdoor or domed is a debate we need to have as a province and a city and a football team because of the implications for cost and use,? says Roughriders president and CEO Jim Hopson. “But the fact that we’re thinking about it is pretty good.

“I’ve been around a long time, but even five years ago, if you talked about a new stadium — let alone a domed stadium — people would have said, ‘You’re crazy. What are you thinking?’ ?

Whatever happens, the Roughriders simply want to see something done.

Hopson says a change, whether renovating or building new, would let the team attract and retain good players. That would translate into a competitive team and spinning turnstiles.

“Long term, it will hurt us if we don’t at least do some improvements,? says Hopson, who favours renewal. “We think (renovating) is affordable and doable and we’d like to see it sooner than later. But if it’s going to be new, we need to get a shovel in the ground.

“This,? he adds, “is the time.?

ihamilton@leaderpost.canwest.com[/i]

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City prefers option of new stadium

[url=http://www.leaderpost.com/City+prefers+option+stadium/1319761/story.html]http://www.leaderpost.com/City+prefers+ ... story.html[/url]

By Ian Hamilton,
Leader-Post, February 23, 2009 12:01 PM

[i]To build or not to build? That is the question.

With apologies to William Shakespeare, the owner of Mosaic Stadium faces a serious dilemma. In fact, in football parlance, the City of Regina is running the option.

The issue began with the suggestion of renovations to Mosaic Stadium, the home of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, Canada West’s University of Regina Rams, the PFC’s Regina Thunder and other sports teams.

Since then, the discussion has grown to include the notions of building a new outdoor stadium or a dome.

"There’s times when you have to look at it and say, ‘OK, well, (renovating) is one way of doing things. But what if …?’ " says Mayor Pat Fiacco, who favours building new – but nothing like a 60,000-seat dome.

“What if we looked at a stadium that could be used all year round, that the Roughriders would be one of many user groups like we already have at Mosaic Stadium, but that would be home to more than just sports? What would that look like? What would the cost be? Is it feasible? Is it a real thing to do?”

A feasibility study is being done by the provincial government, which will then suggest the most viable course of action to the city. As government officials go through the process, the Roughriders watch and wait.

“I’ve seen people take old bungalows and raise them up and put a second floor on and when they’re done, it’s spectacular – but they’ve spent the same as on a new house,” says Roughriders president and CEO Jim Hopson.

“So that’s the question: Are you going to spend as much to get it up to what today’s fan wants or are you going to start from scratch?”

Staying Put

There obviously are advantages to renovating Mosaic Stadium – not the least of which is cost.

The city identified nearly $6 million in necessary renovations to the building, primarily to its infrastructure. There also was talk of putting a giant bubble over the facility for about $1 million.

Bringing the stadium up to snuff – with new seating, lighting, washrooms and other fan-friendly features – would cost significantly more. Fiacco says the estimated cost of renovations which would increase the stadium’s capacity to 35,000 is $120 million.

Even with that price tag, renovations are cheaper than a new stadium.

The current stadium is also located in a good spot, close to downtown and the strip of bars on Dewdney Avenue. Hopson says parking is relatively good in the area of the stadium, there’s good access to and egress from the stadium, and the Roughriders also wouldn’t have to uproot their base of operations to move.

As well, as Hopson says, there’s “a certain charm to the place.”

One of the disadvantages to renovating is the effect of ongoing construction on the team’s fan base, along with its players and coaches.

Hopson says engineers have toured Mosaic Stadium and have given it a clean bill of health in regards to the structural integrity of its grandstands and ramps.

However, he notes the stadium doesn’t have enough good sideline seats, the seats it does have are wooden or metal benches, it doesn’t have escalators or elevators, and it’s tough to service its concessions.

And even if improvements are made, there’s one undeniable truth.

“(If alterations are made), then yes, it’s upgraded and the lighting’s better and the washrooms are nicer and there’s more seating and so on,” Hopson says, “but it’s still a renovated stadium.”

A Fresh Start

Fiacco admits he’d be “very disappointed” if the city wound up with a renovated stadium.

He believes the provincial and federal governments, the private sector and the Roughriders all could help the city with the cost of a new building – estimates for either an outdoor stadium or a dome are between $300 million and $350 million – and that investment could help the city in the long run.

That said, the cost of a new stadium is problematic. Fiacco admits the initial sticker shock would be severe for taxpayers.

"But I don’t know of a facility today in this community that has been built that people are standing back and saying, ‘I wish we wouldn’t have built that,’ " he notes. "I can (only) think of the Brandt Centre and the question of whether we should have put more seats in there.

“With the deepening of Wascana Lake, did we have our critics? Absolutely. But once it got started, boy, did it capture the imagination of not only Reginans but people from all over.”

The construction of a new facility, and the subsequent destruction of Mosaic Stadium, also would force the Roughriders to move their ticket office, locker room, trainer’s room and store. A dome would involve other costs as well.

"Right out of the gate, you’ve got to say, ‘OK, where would we practise?’ " Hopson says. "If you’re in a domed stadium, they’re just too expensive to operate to leave them sit empty. So teams practise in them – and they’re too expensive to operate for practice. Then you’ve got to have a new practice facility …

“The other great thing about our current arrangement is that we’ve got a good lease agreement with the city. We pay rent on a yearly basis, but we’re able to benefit from revenue streams such as parking and concessions and beer. If we were going to a dome, that would likely change.”

The benefits of a new stadium, whether indoors or outdoors, include more seats and creature comforts for spectators. A dome also would take Saskatchewan’s sometimes-harsh elements out of the mix, adding to patrons’ enjoyment.

On a larger scale, Fiacco believes a new stadium would invigorate the area in which it’s built, just as the demolition of Mosaic Stadium would spark development at its location.

An indoor stadium also would be available for other sporting events, concerts or business events. Restaurants, a hotel or a convention centre also are possibilities.

“The talk of a dome is kind of exciting because it says we’re not limiting ourselves,” Hopson says. "I’ve been around long enough to remember a time we would have just pooh-poohed that and said, ‘That’s never going to happen. Don’t even talk about it.’

“But (with talk of a dome) there’s a sense of, ‘All things are possible.’ If an economic case can be made for it, that this thing could pay for itself and break even, then in this climate, you should at least have the conversation.”

ihamilton@leaderpost.canwest.com[/i]

Was just going to post this. Good work dmont

Nice to see such an in depth treatment of the subject.

Good Luck Riders fans

We are in a period of outlining the options, the conclusion of which will prompt a big public clamour, where nearly everyone will agree that SOMETHING should be done. That, in turn, will be followed by a further period of thoughtful deliberation, after which, nothing will be done.

My 5 year old boy will be taking his kids to Rider games at Taylor Field.

The mayor of Regina favours a new stadium, which is going to cost around 300 to 350 million dollars to build, if they put in a dome. I'm not sure how many Rider fans would want that(a dome), but a new stadium might be the way to go. We in Moose Jaw are 2 days away from a second referendum on a new multiplex(the WHL's Warriors being the major tenant), so Fiacco could be watching that vote extremely close.. a similiar type of vote could happen in Regina if enough people get upset of how the mayor and councillors proceed. The multiplex has been a very divisive issue here, but I believe that enough people support the building of a new arena to replace the "crushed can". I think that the Riders enjoy enough support to where building a new stadium would not be too much of a problem.

Wow, this mayor of Regina has vision and is the kind that places like Hamilton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, QC and Halifax desperately need and should clone immediately.
New constructions brings part time and permanent jobs, taxes, it rejuvenates the neighborhood, the city and excites the citizens.
Not to mention its much needed and especially a multi use dome stadium.

He's also a savvy politician, who knows that both provincial and federal governments are touting infrastructure dollars right now. So...he pitches the stadium idea, is the local hero, and makes the upper levels of government pay two-thirds of the thing, and the Riders chipping in a piece as well. If he gets it, great, if not, he can scream foul, and blame the province or more likely the feds for failing Saskatchewan and breaking a promise.

But in neither situation does he come out looking bad, which is the number one political criterion to so many governmental decisions.

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For the record, the Regina Leader-Post likes to get opinions about a stadium from this David Seymour character. I looked into his qualifications, and he's not an economist. He has bachelors degrees in engineering and philosophy, and apparently that qualified him to teach economics in New Zealand. His economic opinion is something out of a very low level text book, is highly simplistic and general to what is traditionally viewed as an extreme right perspective.

Whatever the "Frontier Centre for Public Policy" is, they felt this guy was qualified to be a senior policy analyst. I've never heard of them as a serious think tank, and we tend to get job postings from most here at the university. They also don't disclose where their funding comes from... which makes you wonder...

I've already written to the Leader-Post complaining about the guy, but I guess they didn't listen.

Anyways, on to the article:

Regina needs partners for new stadium: Fiacco

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By Ian Hamilton, Leader-Post
February 23, 2009 8:01 PM

[i]REGINA -- Paying for a new or renovated stadium in Regina may end up being a political football.

The City of Regina is contemplating upgrades to Mosaic Stadium — home of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, among others — that could cost up to $120 million. But instead of spending huge money and ending up with a renovated stadium, the city also is contemplating a new facility with a price tag that could reach $350 million.

No matter which project is chosen, the city is looking for a teammate or two to help pay the bills.

“We own the building, it’s our facility, so we have to be a major player,? says Mayor Pat Fiacco. “But we can’t do it alone. I’m not going to do it on the backs of property taxpayers alone.

“There are programs out there, provincially and federally, that allow us to access those funds so that everyone participates. We’ll certainly be looking at what those opportunities look like.?

The provincial government also will look at the matter — once it sees a proposal from the city.

Christine Tell, the minister of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport, says the government has yet to receive a formal request to participate in a stadium project. She notes the province will examine a proposal once it’s received, but a stadium venture of any kind isn’t “a high priority with our government.?

“We have many priorities right now such as a children’s hospital in Saskatoon, a Moose Jaw hospital and the highways issue that’s very expensive and needs to be done,? Tell says. “In relation to Mosaic Stadium, there has been no discussion in relation to building one or refurbishing what we have.?

Fiacco understands the state of the global economy, but he prefers to look at what a new stadium could do for the city’s bottom line.

“This becomes not only a stimulus to the economy for today but forever because of the economic activity that’s going to happen in that facility,? he says. “It is going to be a hub of major activity. It will be an economic generator if done properly.?


The idea of government involvement has generated some opposition.

David Seymour, the director of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy’s Saskatchewan office and a senior policy analyst at the think-tank, believes governments shouldn’t fund anything related to entertainment. That allows taxpayers “to make their own decisions and transfer their own revenue to funding something like a stadium.?

Seymour admits there are projects that call for government involvement, but this isn’t one of them.

“It may be true that the only way that Regina will end up with a stadium on that scale is through having a government injection or subsidy, but that very fact is telling you that people by their voluntary choices just don’t value it highly enough,? Seymour says.

“What they should do is look at what is the best stadium they can make a business case for and say, ‘Look, this is what the people apparently want. This is what they’re prepared to pay for,’ rather than ask others to pay on their behalf.?

The Saskatchewan director of the Canadian Taxpayers Foundation also has reservations about the idea.

Lee Harding would like to see the city hold a referendum featuring fully costed options and a set limit on taxpayer contributions. The option the public picks then would be constructed.

While some taxpayers will support a costly project like a domed stadium, Harding would like to see other financial backers get involved.

“Where is the corporate support? Where is the individual support?? he wonders. “The Riders could have a share drive. You could have your own name on your own seat. You could have a little nameplate on the back of your seat: ‘This seat was sponsored by . . .’

“There’s all sorts of things and these kinds of things should be done.?


The Roughriders certainly expect things to be done.

Jim Hopson, the team’s president and CEO, says the sale of personal seat licences — a money-raising tactic used in U.S. stadium projects — is a possibility with a new stadium and its expanded seating.

The private sector also could get involved through the sale of naming rights or luxury boxes, wealthy individuals could invest, and the Roughriders organization itself could contribute.

“If we talk in terms of pure dollars, I think the team could commit to 10 per cent of a project like that or maybe even 15 or 20 over a longer term,? says Hopson, whose club has accumulated a nest egg through such things as the sale of shares and a $3-per-ticket fee for stadium renewal.

“The reality is you can make a pretty strong business case if we go from a capacity of 28,000 to say 34,000 — and those are good seats — and you sell those seats for a good dollar. That’s revenue we can stream right back to the project.?

However, because Mosaic Stadium is owned by the city (as a new stadium would be), Hopson says the Roughriders’ involvement in any stadium project would focus solely on their needs — a new locker room, Green and White lounge, offices and so on — instead of major structural concerns.

“Improvements (to Mosaic Stadium) at the very least are necessary and if that’s the decision, we’re a player in this,? Hopson says. “We’re not driving the bus. We’re on the bus and we want to be able to contribute and lay out our needs.?


Fiacco is one of the driving forces behind a new stadium, primarily because of what it can offer Regina.

“We want a thriving community,? he says. “It’s about choice . . . It’s for the public good and we (on city council) have an obligation as an elected group of officials to do what’s right for the public good.?

If a new stadium is built, the city can redevelop the area around that facility along with the area surrounding Mosaic Stadium, which would be demolished. Fiacco says changes to that area would provide a “tremendous amount? of tax revenue the city didn’t have before.

He knows the city will have to invest in the project, but he expects to see a significant return on that investment. He points to the $50 million the city is pumping into the Global Transportation Hub, which Fiacco notes will pay for itself in eight to 10 years.

“This,? he says of a new stadium, “is an opportunity that comes to a community once every 50 years.?

ihamilton@leaderpost.canwest.com

© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post[/i]

Good intentions, but if the Mayor is expecting a huge contribution from the goverment I don't expect a warm reception. I don't see a domed 40,000 seat stadium built unless whoever has deep pockets in the community dishes out some serious dollars to help finance this dream.

For the fans of the Roughriders I do hope they get a better facility they deserve it

I heard Mayor Fiacco talking on NTR and saying "The new stadium is for the city" and "not just the Riders". Sounded like he didn't even consider them a "Major" tennant. yet if the Riders were doing poorly, would anyone even be thinking about a Stadium. In short, NO!. so obviously it is more about the Riders than Mayor Fiacco thinks.

Hopefully Regina gets a new Dome.!!

Bryan, I think he is smart deflecting it away from the major tenant, which happens to be a pro team, since a lot of people don't like seeing any government monies used for a stadium they see as for professionals, even if CFL players make a lot less than some other big leagues.

Better do like he is saying, for the whole city to use type of thing, amateur teams, community etc. the city's treasure. I think this is smart dialogue to be honest.

Exactly right, Earl. The mayor has to strike a balance when riding Rider pride. The Riders may be a passion city-wide and province-wide (nation-wide … I’m way out in Québec!) so it doesn’t hurt to tag onto that, but there is enough “we have better things to spend taxpayer money on” sentiment (even at varying degrees amongst the Rider faithful), that it cannot be all that is marketed, nor should it be. It really does need to be a “community jewel” with a broad base of use (hence, acceptance) for any proposal, especially one that will suck up those kind of resources, to succeed.

Fiacco, as mayor, should focus on the latter (community) and let fans speak up for the former (the Riders).

Agree, well put legal.

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...and they don't seem to care how much it costs, strangely enough.

Regina residents prefer new stadium

[url=http://www.leaderpost.com/Regina+residents+prefer+stadium/1329143/story.html]http://www.leaderpost.com/Regina+reside ... story.html[/url]

By Ian Hamilton, Leader-Post
February 25, 2009 7:18 PM

[i]REGINA -- If the majority truly does rule, Regina would be getting either a new stadium or a new-look one.

In a poll conducted for the Leader-Post by Sigma Analytics, more than 75 per cent of 606 respondents said they would like to see Mosaic Stadium — home of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, among others — renovated or replaced.

Of that total, building a new stadium earned the highest percentage at 42.5. The next-largest group (28.6 per cent) preferred renovating Mosaic Stadium, 23.9 per cent supported leaving the stadium as it is, 4.6 per cent suggested improvements but were undecided as to the type, and 0.4 per cent preferred abandoning the project due to the costs.

To Mayor Pat Fiacco, the results of the poll were a sign that citizens are at least intrigued with the possibilities.

“Obviously there is an interest, and that’s the feedback I’ve been getting from people in the community when I’m out and about,? Fiacco says. “They think it’s time that we did something. Whether it’s build new or renovate, let’s do something to bring the facility — and our city — forward.?

The telephone survey was conducted between Feb. 10-14. Its margin of error is plus or minus 3.97 per cent 19 times out of 20.

“There’s still room for a pretty good argument here, keeping in mind that less than a (50-per-cent) majority say build new,? says Cam Cooper, the practice leader of Sigma Analytics.

“It would be hard to convince people to do nothing and I think the renovation thing would leave a sour taste after it was done, just based on the numbers . . . But there’s a plurality (in favour of building new) — and it’s a big plurality. If you had an election in which the winning party got 42 (per cent) and the next party got 28, they’d have a landslide.?


It’s going to take an avalanche of money to pay for either project.

Initial estimates on the cost of renovations to bring Mosaic Stadium up to date are in the range of $120 million. The price tag of a new stadium, whether it’s a dome or outdoors, is estimated to be between $300 million and $350 million.

Those promoting the construction of a new stadium say the cost of the necessary renovations is so high that those doing the work — the City of Regina and its partners — would be better served paying for a new facility that would have a longer-term impact.

The respondents’ reaction to the projects’ finances intrigued Cooper.

[b]First, among the respondents who favoured change, 57.9 per cent preferred building a new facility and 42.1 per cent suggested renovating Mosaic Stadium.

Then, after the costs were fully outlined, those polled were asked if the figures changed their preference of renovation or replacement — and 85.7 per cent said no.

Of those who changed their minds, the largest portion (43.5 per cent) went from supporting renovations to favouring a new building, possibly with a dome, while 31.4 per cent switched from preferring a new facility to renovating Mosaic Stadium. Building new but without a dome got support from 21.5 per cent, and abandoning the project was favoured by 3.5 per cent.

“Eighty-six per cent of them didn’t blink at the cost,? Cooper says. “About one in six did blink, but many of them weren’t really blinking. They were saying, ‘All right, so if it’s going to be 100 or 300 or 350, let’s go for the 300 or 350.’

“That’s the most striking thing here. We approached this on the basis that people would be frightened at the cost, but in fact it appears that that’s not the case. They’re more interested in making a thorough job of it, as they might see that, than in doing it more cheaply and still having an old building.?[/b]


If the old building is to be replaced, the level of support varies for possible locations for a new facility.

Asked where they would like a new stadium to be built, 41.1 per cent of respondents said near Mosaic Stadium or in another central location, 36.6 per cent favoured Regina’s outskirts but not near the University of Regina, 20.8 per cent said near the university, and 1.5 per cent picked “other.?

Just over 53 per cent of season-ticket holders surveyed favoured the central location, while the highest percentage of non-season-ticket holders (40 per cent) preferred the outskirts.

Fiacco is a proponent of putting a new building in the downtown. One possible location he has mentioned is the CP railyards, which are to be vacated when the Global Transportation Hub is constructed on the city’s western outskirts.

He believes new businesses would spring up around the facility, which also would connect the entertainment district on Dewdney Avenue with the downtown. Mosaic Stadium would be demolished and its location also would be revitalized.

“What’s happened for years and years in other parts of the country is that they’ve taken these facilities away from the downtown area, which has left a real void in the downtown,? Fiacco says. “Our goal is to look at increasing activity in the downtown area.

“The way to do that is to create these types of facilities that will bring in events that are going to generate all kinds of traffic.?

As for financing the project, 83.8 per cent of respondents who favoured improvements or relocation think a combination of fundraising and support from various levels of government is necessary to pay for the project.

In Cooper’s eyes, the results of the poll — and the stadium debate itself — represent something of an attitude change in the province.

“People are seeing that there maybe is a brass ring out there to grasp and it’s not out of reach,? he says. “Some of the carryover from people who are close to the ’30s has fallen away a bit.

“That would be my theory, that some of that overly cautious outlook — the hide-the-money-in-the-mattress outlook — has declined a bit. And just thinking about this means quite a bit to the city. So the message appears to be, ‘If we’re going to do something, let’s get it right.’ ?

ihamilton@leaderpost.canwest.com

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