Monday, June 22, 2009

Domed stadium panned by Star Phoenix

An editorial in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix sides with the CTF stance on a proposed domed stadium in Regina.

Even at a time when stimulus-obsessed politicians are tossing around hundreds of millions of dollars as if the day of reckoning will never come, the idea of building a domed stadium in Regina is a dream that needs a quick reality check.

It can start with Saskatchewan residents demanding to see the findings of a $70,000 feasibility study on a 35,000-seat "indoor entertainment complex," especially when a Regina city councillor with close ties to the Wall government is speaking as if the dome might be a done deal.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation's Saskatchewan director, Lee Harding, was right to express concern by noting Coun. Jocelyn Hutchinson's comment on a radio show that the indoor stadium "will be a great link between downtown and the entertainment district."

Given the projected cost of such a domed structure is in the range of some $350 million -- money that mostly will have to come courtesy of taxpayers via their municipal, provincial and federal governments, its proponents need to present a viable business case that covers not just the capital costs of the facility but its operating costs as well.

2 comments:

BT said...

But has the government not stressed repeatedly that money for a stadium won't come from general revenue? Or are you expressing the concern that if, for example, a quasi-public body like SLGA gets involved, they will still spend money that would NORMALLY go to general revenue? I like the stadium idea but we need to be smart. I really like the idea of Municipal Bonds; it would allow supporters to really "put out or sit down."

Lee Harding said...

I also strongly support the idea of municipal bonds. Paul Martin thinks this would be a great pilot project for the use of municipal bonds--something that is commonplace in the U.S. and not done in Canada.

If it was successful, people would feel more involved in the project. If a bond drive was not successful, it would demonstrate that the public support (financially and morally) is just not there.

It is moot whether general revenues are used or not. If gaming revenues are used it just means that it won't go towards local sports, etc. or it won't enter the general revenue fund in the first place.

It's like the federal government insisting that it only gave $15 million to the fitness centre of the Winnipeg Stadium project, not the stadium itself. It will be interesting to see how the federal government justifies spending money on the new complex. It could be something like, "We are spending money on the hotel part through western economic diversification, plus some of the walkways, parking, etc., but not the stadium"!

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