Monday, July 16, 2012

On ballpark figures

John Klein and Marian Donnelly have already raised some important questions about this weekend's stadium funding announcement. But while the biggest problem with the announcement may well be just how obvious it is that some key issues haven't yet been worked out in the slightest, I'll toss a couple more into the mix.

First, particularly in light of the fact that Regina's City Council will be asked to vote on the deal within the next month, the announcement reeks of being cynically timed to allow a current council to lock the city into an agreement which voters may want to reject. And so it will be worth keeping an eye on exactly what steps are intended to be taken before the election - and holding the current Councillors who are running again strictly accountable for any choice to deprive voters of any say.

Second, there's the cost involved in the project. While Bruce Johnstone for one takes at face value the claim that the province's "roof ready" requirement won't add to the price tag, I'm curious as to how the cost of an open-air stadium has jumped just under $90 million (for a stadium with 5,000 less seats) since the province carried out its 2009 stadium concept review.

Otherwise, the announcement at least looks to reflect a more sensible funding model than most that have been floated to pay for a new stadium - with the Roughriders and attendees picking up at least a substantial part of the initial tab (though the city looks to be on the hook for overruns). And so the question will indeed be one of priorities rather than whether there's much more to be done to improve what a stadium project looks like.

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