In the last while the issue of a new stadium for Regina for the Saskatchewan Roughriders has come up as a major issue for that city’s municipal election.
If one peruses the Regina media reports on it, they would think that the only ones who have any concerns or something to say about the issue are Reginans — but in truth, this is a provincial issue, inasmuch as the Riders are the province’s team.
I’m not basing that just on the Green-and-White’s massive fan base, although one could certainly make that argument.
Reginans may counter by pointing out that the immediate impact tax-wise will be felt on their tax bills, so therefore this is an issue for their city council and council and mayoral candidates to debate.
Yes, I agree, this is a big issue for them — but, it’s also a big issue for those of us who are not residents of the Queen City, because of the input of provincial tax dollars to the stadium.
This automatically makes it a provincial issue, since now my tax dollars are being directed to this project, and not just the dollars of Regina residents.
Perhaps the debate should include the question, should any public money be involved in this project, or should it be shared with private corporations and community fundraising efforts?
And how far should we go with the project? Should it be built as a monstrous covered stadium like Vancouver and Toronto has?
Given the kinds of weather we have on the Prairies, and that football is a huge game here with games held well into October and November, maybe having a covered stadium isn’t a bad idea, plus it would then be available year-round for events and other sports (like soccer, for example), which would help with the revenue stream for the facility.
But the question is then one of affordability — can we as a province (and Regina as a city) afford to pay the extra costs that would be involved with having a covered stadium?
People may well point out that Saskatchewan has one of the few hot economies in Canada, one that has been cooking along for a few years now, helping to rebuild our population and tax base with new growth and development.
Well, this is all true, and is actually a good argument for seeking out private investment into a new stadium, including the prestigious “naming rights” for the new facility. If there was success in this area, then maybe public money could be minimized, if it’s needed at all.
The Riders do bring in a revenue stream to Regina and area, and major events at a new stadium would do the same, so really do tax dollars have any role in supporting such a facility?