Saskatoon metropolis council rubber stamps downtown occasion centre – Saskatoon

The green light was given in Wednesday’s special city council meeting for the City of Saskatoon to move forward with plans to buy the Midtown North Parking Lot for the site of the downtown event centre.

Click to play video: 'Downtown Saskatoon event center receives green light'

Downtown Saskatoon event center receives green light

The property comes with a price tag of $25 million for 5.28 acres that doesn’t encompass all the costs attached to the project. There are also a number of agreements and obligations that need to be met.

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It was noted that preliminary costs around the project and a funding strategy is expected next year in the first quarter.

City Manager Jeff Jorgenson said administration was given the task of creating a plan that had as little effect on taxes as possible. He added that a location needed to be known by administration so they could determine all the costs.

Several speakers, including Shawna Nelson from the Saskatoon Destination Marketing Hotels Inc., Brent Penner with Downtown Saskatoon, and Tammy Sweeney with TCU Place showed their support for the new arena.

During the discussion, Coun. Sarina Gersher noted that she wasn’t optimistic that property taxes wouldn’t be impacted.

count Hillary Gough said she wasn’t sure if this project is viable yet, and is waiting to see what comes out of future funding strategies.

count Bev Dubois said she was interested to see the cost when it comes together, adding many Saskatoon residents are interested as well.

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Click to play video: 'City council asked to approve land purchase for downtown arena'

City council asked to approve land purchase for downtown arena

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Even with talks around a new downtown event center carrying on for several years, and public consultation that began on Oct. 3, some Saskatoon residents still aren’t sold on the new arena.

Letters submitted to city council dating back to August raise residents’ concerns with several aspects of the plan.

Several took issue with the Insightrix public survey.

Ken Ladouceur wrote that he felt the public survey was slanted, and didn’t address whether people actually wanted the arena.

“There is so much in this city that needs repairing or replacing and an arena, convention center or library is not one of those things,” Ladouceur wrote.

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Saskatoon looks at locating downtown event center at Midtown lot

Ari Avivi wrote that the costs associated with the project might have been unclear, and that making sure everyone understands what the full costs are should be council’s priority.

“Do you think that at a minimum you should postpone your discussions on approval and repeat the consultation with a full and transparent listing of the costs,” Avivi said.

Joanne Cliff wrote that the city’s priorities were in the wrong place.

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“With the new Wellness Center going to Fairhaven, and seeing the need for more shelters, affordable housing, addictions treatment centers etc., why would the city not put more money into those so that our city could be vibrant for all citizens not just the upper class?” Cliff wrote.

Robert Sykes wrote that people are having a hard enough time making ends meet.

“We can’t afford it, no matter how you spin it for the tax payers who can’t even afford groceries,” Sykes wrote.

Other issues mentioned among the 21 letters submitted, pointed out problems with accessibility, suggested a different location was needed for the centre, and that public transportation needed improvement before the city could consider a new event center downtown.

While every councillor, except Darren Hill, who had to leave before the decision was made, decided on the Midtown North parking lot as the site for the new arena, it was noted that many more discussions still needed to be had before everything was solidified.

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