Saturday, May 05, 2012

On unanswered questions

Having written just a couple of days ago as to what I'd hope to see from the City of Regina in a new stadium plan, I'll take a few minutes to point out how the latest "revitalization initiative" stacks up.

The good news is that we're no longer seeing any pretense that the funding will be anything but public. But it's still rather odd that the initial funding is split up from "(p)rivate resources to build, finance and maintain" the stadium, leaving it somewhat less than clear exactly what additional resources are expected beyond the $278 million sticker price.

But more problematic for the cost/benefit analysis is a lack of any expectation that there will be public returns on the investment.The City's backgrounder suggests that the 'Riders' lone contribution will be "leasehold improvements of raw space to be used for football club purposes", which seems to signal that there's no expectation whatsoever that the main tenant of the new stadium will contribute anything other than to continue its own operations on the new site. And while there's been reason to be skeptical about past expectations about lease payments and naming rights, we should at least have some idea what's being assumed in those categories and who will reap the associated benefits.

Finally, while the proposed stadium development and redevelopment of the existing stadium site can plausibly be linked together, the redevelopment of the CP lands doesn't seem to have anything to do with the rest of the scheme other than having been lumped together under the RRI. And we should be asking why that facet of the revitalization can't be approved and set in motion without incurring the cost of a new stadium.

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