Thursday, February 24, 2011

Take a leap

Thank God this is not a leap year and the debate on domed stadium will not be extended past Monday. I hope this means that the City of Regina and the province will now get on with a reasonable renovation of Mosaic Stadium.

And since Mayor Fiacco raised the issue of a necessary inner city redevelopment and need for affordable housing, he too should focus on accomplishing that goal for his city.

If the provincial government was ready to make available hundreds of millions of dollars for an entertainment facility, I should now entertain taking those hundreds of millions that are now freed up and investing that money in meeting the needs of Saskatchewan residents.


  1. Well Mistress give us YOUR list of needs for this so called extra money the Province will have. Oh and they all have to have the ability to turn a profit as was indicated by the feasibility study on the Stadium.

    As for the money that will now be spent on Mosaic well I guess the Heritage Association will be ramping up the rhetoric looking for the same kind of funding for the Traffic Bridge. Both should be condemned. My only hope now is that a scaled down version of the Domed stadium gets the push and respect that the pie in the sky retractable stadium got.

    I was never in favor of a retractable roof but if they build a static dome they costs will most likely be in the range of 300 mil. There goes the need for the feds money.

  2. Anon 8:53, it isn't about any one person's list of needs. You clearly are unabashedly behind a dome stadium. There are many who are not. I for one believe the Riders need a new home, however, unlike YOU I don't want the dome stadium. I'd rather spend my summer afternoons in the sun, and fall days in the crisp air.

    This isn't about turning a profit as you insinuate. The feasibility study pointed to ways that the stadium could turn a profit, which included the attraction of trade shows, concerts and other events. These are by no means guarantees, and if they are not there then the stadium will either become a money pit or fall into a state of disrepair. Honestly, the only certainty is 9 home games from the Riders....9 days out of 365???? It is asinine to think we need a half billion dollar stadium to house the Riders and a few conventions, which may or may not come (it is not like Regina would have much else to offer other than the dome, which several centres also have).

    As for a list of provincial needs...roads still need to be brought up to standards, we may as well include work on twining the Saskatoon-Calgary road (A job that is going to be required sooner or later if we intend on continuing to grow as a province), Station 20 could use some funds, the list is endless of where this money could be spent....or better yet maybe put it towards paying down the debt.

    The LAST thing we need is idiots in the minority, like Anon 8:53, pushing for unwanted scaled down lame dome....simply for sake of having a dome.

  3. Anon 9:04
    This 8:53, If it is only for 9 days a year why spend any money at all on a new stadium lets just set up temporary stands for those nine days complete with portable washrooms and those little portable food stands. just think of the savings in upkeep and maintenance. My understanding is temp. seats cost approx. $40./head so maybe the cost of going to a rider game would need to go up slightly but what the hell everyone wants to freeze their ass off in Nov.

    My push for a dome is a realization that I don't want a couple of hundred million spent on anything that will be used only in the summer. Its about extending the operating season. The City of Regina would be able to use it extensively as a multi-purpose facility not only for sports but also other events.

    I have never said the Government didn't need to build roads/pay down debt or even, although I'm not in favor of Station 20 West, Social housing efforts.

    I am saying now is the time to do the additional things that over the last 100 years our province hasn't been able to do.

    The Fargo Dome is a great example of an indoor stadium that has turned a profit and given their residents opportunities they never would have had.

    So 9:04 go visit the Farmers garden down on 19th street today. OOPs not one tent set up wonder why could be the -31 that is keeping people away.

  4. Sure Fargo may be turning a profit, however, for every Fargo there are a dozen other stadiums that are draining the tax payers funds (and don't for a second think the shortfall wouldn't be coming from the tax payers pockets).

    You talk about extending the season of use, for whom? I certainly don't think holding the highschool track meet or football games, or having other municipal events there will fill the coffers. What does Regina have to offer over other locales to attract the major conventions in the middle of the winter? Honestly, that is a real question....what is the draw other than having stadium (which every major centre in Western Canada also has). A new domed stadium down the road one day may be practical, but at this point it is not. Because I can imagine convention organizers will be lining up to come to Regina in the middle of January because there is a dome here now.....and virtually no other amenities that events like those enjoy having.

    I just am struggling to grasp what would fill the place, I suspect it could attract a major concert a month maybe (which I think in itself is generous) maybe 21 days out of 365 there would be PAYING CUSTOMERS using it? Let's even be generous and up it to 30 days of the year that it would be used by paying customers. That is absurd.

    I can appreciate your mentality of let's do something to say Saskatchewan is now on the map, but this dome mentality of "If we build it, they will come" makes no sense.

    Long term the most viable solution would be to build a moderate or reasonably priced outdoor stadium in Regina, and later on down the road build a domed stadium in Saskatoon.

  5. "Long term the most viable solution would be to build a moderate or reasonably priced outdoor stadium in Regina, and later on down the road build a domed stadium in Saskatoon."

    Ah, the moment of truth. It was never about at about a domed stadium being a waste of money, was it? It's about a domed stadium being built in REGINA. Thanks for letting your true colours shine through.

    Oh, and to answer your question of what would convention goers see & do in Regina in the middle of winter, here's just a partil list off the top of my head:
    - tour Canada's most beautiful provincial legislative building
    - cross-country ski in the middle of the city in Wascana Park
    - visit the Sask. Science Centre and the province's only IMAX Theatre
    - take in a performance by Canada's longest continually-running Symphony Orchestra
    - visit the RCMP national Heritage Centre
    - down a pint (or two) at Bushwakker's, one of Canada's best brewpubs, or have a Guiness at O'Hanlon's pub downtown
    - attend a play-in-the-round at the Globe Theatre
    - dine at at one of many great local restaurants like the Diplomat, Fainting Goat, Creek in Cathedral, Willows on Wascana, Cathedral Freehouse
    - etc....

  6. Ahhhh, it is not about a dome in Saskatoon or a dome in Regina. Here's a little tip, if you want to be recognized nationally (and/or internationally) as a place to come drop the pettiness between Saskatoon-Regina. Cross province rivalry is good, but enough of the tit for tat and undercutting one another on projects.

    My opinion is ACTUALLY based upon a simple premise. The Riders need a new home (or a renovated one) and I would prefer to see them in an outdoor stadium. Or at the least in a home that is designed for football and able to accommodate other events (and not the other way around).

    Secondly, Saskatoon will down the road be in need of a similar type facility. Saskatoon would probably be a more logical location to attract conventions considering the synchrotron and rapidly expanding university. In other words, there is will likely be a higher demand for conventions in Saskatoon in 20 years than Regina.

    Each city will need something new within the next 30 years, who gets it first and which one goes where I don't really care (the Huskies sure would appreciate a full sized stadium, as would our highschool kids playing at the atrocious Gordie Howe field). So build whichever facility you want in the city of your choice. I'm just saying from a practical level Saskatoon makes more sense IN MY OPINION. I don't want a dome here now, I don't want a dome period now. I don't even think I'd classify what I think Saskatoon needs as a dome, I'd probably more loosely just refer to it as a stadium (ideally one to replace the Credit Union Centre when the time comes).

    As for your extravagant list of things to do in Regina....
    - tour Canada's most beautiful provincial legislative building- Victoria's is very nice too. In any event I doubt that will be a huge selling point to most people in town for a convention.
    - cross-country ski in the middle of the city in Wascana Park- Really the second best 'thing to do' in Regina is cross-country ski. I hope the convention planners remind all the delegates to pack their cross country skis so that they can cross country ski across a park like every other province has.
    - visit the Sask. Science Centre and the province's only IMAX Theatre- Bigger centres have IMAX theatres, hate to burst your bubble but they aren't exactly 'tourist meccas'
    - take in a performance by Canada's longest continually-running Symphony Orchestra- I'll give you this one, would be a good selling point.
    - visit the RCMP national Heritage Centre- Not bad, but not exactly making people run to Saskatchewan. Never come across someone in Regina there simply for RCMP museum.
    - down a pint (or two) at Bushwakker's, one of Canada's best brewpubs, or have a Guiness at O'Hanlon's pub downtown- Every city in the world boasts similar type pubs, any downtown has cool little holes in the wall. May as well advertise, "HEY WE HAVE WATER"
    - attend a play-in-the-round at the Globe Theatre- Never been, but I'm intrigued enough to look it up next time I'm in town.
    - dine at at one of many great local restaurants like the Diplomat, Fainting Goat, Creek in Cathedral, Willows on Wascana, Cathedral Freehouse- Again, see every other centre in Canada. For the record, Saskatchewan has some of the shitiest restaurants around. Our 'high-end' dining is nothing to brag about.
    - etc....- Is there more?

    Judging from you have written there really isn't a whole lot of unique selling points to attract conventions to Regina. Especially when larger more central centres are available in cities with the same and better activities as you listed above.

    Like I said, there is not a whole lot in Regina that screams bring your event here (and don't cite costs either, hotel rooms are same price in Regina as places like Calgary/Edmonton)

  7. Anon8:53 here again,

    I agree there is a segment of the Province that sees this as a "Regina" facility however I live in Saskatoon and am in full support of building it in that city. Yes I would love the same for Saskatoon but hell we can't even get people like anon 9:04 to fund one let alone two.

    Lets remember the only reason any discussion began on a "New" stadium was because there was a group in Saskatoon talking about redevelopment in this city and using a stadium as a feature gathering place.

    Lets take on some of Anon 9:04's logic. So they don't want a dome but then indicates that "someday down the road a dome stadium maybe practical" so which is it?? This thing if it does go ahead will take a minimum of 3-5 years to complete. So is that far enough "down the road" for you??

    Anon 9:04 what's your top figure for an outdoor refurbished stadium cost that you can live with that only operates 9 days a year for a professional team?? 100, 150, 200 million?? at minimum the 100 million would be bear bones.

    As for the Huskies wanting a full stadium the UofS can't even agree to partner with other groups on a new hockey rink I doubt they would want to share a football stadium with a pro team. BTW this is what is happening in Winnipeg.

    And as far as Gordie Howe Bull Sh#t goes that venue deserves a bit of TNT. Just because some councilors want to be seen as improving the west side of Saskatoon why would we throw good money after bad. Just as Regina doesn't need a single use football stadium, neither do the citizens of Saskatoon. Highschool football plays games at the UofS now, so why not all year round. As for the Hilltops. Suck it up princess and get with the program and make a deal with the UofS. You don't need your "own" stadium. Go play at Atch field if you want and put in a couple of temp bleachers up you only draw 5000 people anyways. But no you want the citizens of Saskatoon to build you new dressing rooms and clubhouse. Not on my dime.

  8. Anon 9:04 here, my my my what a rant Anon 9:04.

    I really like the hypocrisy of your most recent post. You advocate building a dome in Regina that can be used as a multi purpose facility. Then at the end slam the Hilltops for want their own stadium funded on 'your dime'. So let me get this straight, using your logic that is, it is fair to fund the Rider's stadium on our public dime but not the Hilltops??? Why is that? If anything I would think there would be more sympathy to funding a junior program versus a professional organization, and additionally the costs of a Hilltops type facility would be quite small comparatively.

    As to answer your question of when a facility might be needed. I think Anon 11:57 was pretty accurate, maybe 20-30 years down the road. Who knows, maybe in the interim some private investors will see a need and build one on their own and we won't have to have this silly argument. But I suspect Anon 8:53 is much like the rest of the backwards thinkers that prefer that the government be involved in every single aspect of our lives, and that the government be responsible for all that ails us.

    Have you stopped to think Anon 8:53 why there is absolutely ZERO investors lined up for this project? Isn't that funny that a feasibility study was done showing it could be profitable, yet not a single investor has brought their money to the table. If this is such a good idea, where are all the investors from Calgary that flocked to make a buck in the past half decade? Why does no one want to tie their money up in this project at this time? Think about that for a minute. Because it is likely seen as a money losing venture.

    What is my top figure for an outdoor refurbished stadium? I wouldn't even know where to begin. If we want to look at two recent comparable projects. Hamilton recently just agreed on a complete refurbishing (including office building attached,tearing down entire west stands and rebuilding, and groundwork around stadium) of Ivor Wynne for $152 million. On the low end of things BC refurbished Empire Field for $25 million to get things up to speed temporarily. Based on those estimates, $100-150 million should update Mosaic (which is not in the state of disrepair that IW Stadium was)

  9. Anon 9:50 here again...just to clarify and address a few points brought up by Anon 10:32.

    I'm actually with you 10:32, I'd love to drop Regina vs. Saskatoon pettiness, but this project seems to have stirred it up a lot (see the latest Star-Phoenix editorial today by Les MacPherson, for example). So when you said a "moderate or reasonably priced outdoor stadium in Regina and later a domed stadium in Saskatoon", it came across to me like "do as I say, not as I do."

    Ironically when you clarified in your second post what you meant by a "domed stadium" for Saskatoon, what you actually described was a covered, multi-purpose facility that could host conventions, trade shows, concerts, etc. - the exact same description of the facility that was being pitched for Regina (except the Riders will also be tenants).

    You are correct that each city will need new or upgraded facilities in the next 20-30 years and you identified some in your post. But Regina currently has no equivalent to Griffiths Stadium, Gordie Howe Bowl or CUC (the Brandt Centre is half the capacity of CUC and the roof is too low for many of the current shows on tour like Cirque du Soleil). The proposed Regina facility would actually be the equivalent of all three of those venues.

    It would be nice to think that cities could pay for all these facilities alone, but with the limited tax levers that Canadian cities have it's just not feasible. That's why the other two senior levels of govt. get asked to fund infrastructure projects (and really that's what this is, infrastructure). So the question is, what's the biggest 'bang for the buck' for the taxpayer? An outdoor stadium that sits idle 6-7 months a year? Or a indoor facility that has the potential to be used 12 months/year, attract private investment and generate revenues (through PST and GST) so the senior levels of govt. can get some ROI while also improving the "quality of life" in the community?

    I'll admit the proposal had a lot of flaws...and the pols did a lousy job of presenting it (it's a dome! no it's a multi-purpose facility! no it's an inner-city revitilization!) but as a concept, in MY opinion $100+ million on renovations or $200 million on a new outdoor facility are poor investments vs. a covered, year-round facility.

    Finally re: the list of attractions, well you asked why would anyone hold a convention in Regina in mid-winter so I gave you a few ideas of the top of my head (and not in any order of "best things to do in Regina when it's -30 outside, and yes there's more). However I do think it's pretty cool that you can cross-country ski here in the a huge urban park in the middle of the city. And so what if other cities have similar things? Does that mean we just throw up our hands and say, oh well I guess we can't compete so let's not try to bring conventions here? You could make the same argument for Saskatoon vs. other cities too.

  10. Not a single domed stadium in North America has made money. No, not even the Fargodome.

    The continually propagated lie that the Fargodome is profitable is a complete mis-statement of the facts. The real facts are as follows:

    (1) The Fargodome was bulit for a mere $80M (not the $450M+ estimated for the Regina stadium).
    (2) All citizens of North Dakota pay a 1/2 percent dedicated sales tax to pay for the construction--a similar tax for the Regina proposal would be about 3 percent, raising our PST to 8%.
    (3) The Fargodome only seats 18,000 for football games and 21,000 for concerts, not the 50,000 proposed for Regina.
    (4) The Fargodome is built on land DONATED by the State University of North Dakota --not purchased from CP Rail like Regina, which purchase price the SaskParty government refuses to tell us.
    (5) The City of Fargo pays the University a mere $1 a year to lease the land, and has a tax moratorium.
    (6) While the Fargodome is OWNED by the City, it is OPERATED by the Fargodome Authority. Statements of so-called profitability of the Fargodome only consider the Fargodome Authority's financial statement which shows a small operating profit of less than $100K from concession licensing. But the City of Fargo's consolidated financial statement shows that the City suffers a loss of approximately $2M per year after taking into account depreciation, etc.

  11. Anon 9:50,

    My point with questioning the Regina attractions was more to point out that Regina will just be another run of the mill City competing for these events. Furthermore, they're likely behind the eight ball somewhat being the smallest centre of note to be vying, and lacking many amenities that Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and other major cities can offer. Sure it is great to be competing and everything, but it is not worth the tax payers continual subsidizing of an underused stadium.

    What happens when the Province can only get 30 days of bookings in a year at the facility? Do we just concede that it is yet another very expensive government program that we'll pay for and use ourselves? Again, it is telling that not one a single private investor has stepped to the table with interest.

  12. anon: 8:53 again,

    To clarify I would love the new stadium to be 100% private owned but we all know that is out of the question Even the mighty Jerry Jones got Government money to build his new stadium, even though it was only a drop in the bucket to him.

    Everyone needs to realize coming up with the front end cash isn't easy and all I want to see is our government investing in these types of businesses that do a multitude of things. As said earlier the revenue from PST and GST on the construction side the person income tax and corporate taxes that will be paid during construction are huge intangables for these types of mega projects.

    Those of us with forward thinking minds understand the need for Government involvement. Example Sasktel - once a Government Monopoly is now a force in the open market of today's telecom industry. Also I don't want to see a Spudco disaster however when this project is done there will continue to be a market/resource in place that our province can utilize.

    Is there work that needs to be done on the private side for sure but to just say one is against a dome because the government would be left with nothing is petty. Again ANON 9:04 show your true colors and explain where you would get 100% of a 150 million stadium from only private investment. Not in Sask. Not for a Million years. There will be government money in this building no matter what and as others indicate I want my money to get the most out of it and that is with a facility that has the POTENTIAL to operate 365 days a year.

  13. Anon 8:53,

    Your forward thinking mind is missing the big point here, you want a facility that has the POTENTIAL to operate 365 days a year with no idea of what you are going to utilize it for. The best I can figure is 9 Riders games (plus maybe playoffs), and the odd concert and perhaps a convention a year. The rest of the time we have a half billion dollar government built, owned and operated complex sitting idle.

    All the POTENTIAL in the world won't mean a lick when the thing is sitting unused, or used by municipal organizations for local events, and the tax payer is on the hook for subsidizing the operating costs of it.

    I can dream up a hundred different projects that have the POTENTIAL to be great, but just aren't practical.

    I never said the $150 million would come from private investors, perhaps some of it could. My point is, that as of yet, there are no private funds being added to the project so on that basis let's look at something more reasonable. The only solid commitment to a facility is the Riders.

    I understand your POTENTIAL usage argument, but from where? What is the convention, tradeshow, travelling act, etc.. market like? How come no other project of this magnitude is able to turn a profit without a much more secure tenant (ie. baseball team playing 80 some home games, hockey playing 40 plus).

    Even more ridiculous is the insinuation that people are not forward thinkers for wanting this. I acknowledge the need for a new facility, I think it needs to be considered in the context of the situation. It's all fine and good to think like a big city but the reality is that Regina isn't a big city.

    Yes there will be government money in any building, but in case you haven't noticed the Feds aren't rushing to put their money in either. Just because there will be government funding doesn't mean we need to rush out issue a blank cheque to the builders. If it is going to be government funded then it should be reasonable and practical. I'd rather have a renovated $150 million Mosaic giving some return than a $450 million dome draining the coffers further with subsidized operating costs.

  14. Anon 8:53 no one is saying that Government funds shouldn't be involved. But you have to question the wisdom when no one other than the government is willing to contribute and there is no reasonable explanation as to how this facility will be used year round.

    Honestly, how much of the potential will ever be fulfilled?


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