Thursday, November 06, 2008

Rider Stadium Under Discussion

It's either a $100 million retrofit or a brand new stadium, according to Regina's Mayor Pat Fiacco. The Roughriders' longtime home of Taylor Field (now called Mosaic Stadium) has had 17 straight sellouts, prompting discussions between the City of Regina, the province of Saskatchewan, and, of course, the Roughriders.

Unfortunately, big dreams need big dollars. The federal government has little change to spare and won't be jumping at this one. The City of Regina says it can't pay for it all. Private funding and a contribution from the province of Saskatchewan seem like the big X-factors.

Already there are controversial plans for two new multi-sport facilities in Moose Jaw, upgrades to TWO football stadiums in Saskatoon, the new Shaw swim centre in Saskatoon, and a $60 million expansion of IPSCO place (while the WHL Pats ponder moving out anyway). These projects are almost entirely funded by taxpayer dollars despite many successful arena projects in B.C. (Langley, Chiliwack) that took few taxpayer dollars.

The province is still saddled with $14 billion of total debt and should tread carefully. Hopefully some of those businesspeople that floated the idea of a $350 million new stadium in Saskatoon still have some goodwill and can spare taxpayers another sports-related burden.

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