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Future Saskatoon downtown planning should include option for new arena

A new arena should be considered in any future plans for downtown Saskatoon.

A report heading to the city’s governance and priorities committee said a number of factors went into administration’s decision, including the benefits it would have on other businesses including restaurants, hotels, and the shopping district.

“Considering all factors, the administration concludes that any future downtown planning should be developed with the option of a future arena construction in mind,” Lesley Anderson, the city’s director of planning and development, said in a statement.

Anderson said there would also need to be an analysis on how an arena would affect infrastructure.

“We have to explore the effects of any new facilities on roads, parking, water, sewer and how to mitigate potential impacts,” she said.

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A separate report outlines funding options.

The report said 25 per cent of funding for many convention centres built in Canada since 2010 have come from the municipality.

It also stated municipalities, on average, funded 60 per cent of cost for arenas and stadiums constructed in non-NHL cities since 2005.

“This analysis is not intended to provide funding strategy for such a project,” said the city’s chief financial officer, Kerry Tarasoff.

“We want the committee to have some information and to highlight what some of those financing options could look like.”

The cost to replace SaskTel Centre and TCU Place is estimated at between $330 million and $375 million.

The CEOs of both facilities have previously stated they would prefer a new facility rather than upgrades to the current buildings.

TCU Place is 50-years-old and SaskTel Centre opened in 1988.

An October 2017 poll found just over 63 per cent of those surveyed favoured a new downtown arena and convention centre.

The committee will consider the report on Nov. 13.

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