Support for a downtown arena and convention centre is gaining traction in Saskatoon.
An Insightrix poll from Tourism Saskatoon shows 63 per cent of people said they supported the idea in October 2017, up from 51 per cent in spring 2016.
According to the poll, Indigenous and young people make up the biggest group of supporters.
Overall, 70 per cent of men are in favour, while 57 per cent of women are warm to the idea.
The poll found support remained decidedly positive across all income brackets.
In a news release Friday, Tourism Saskatoon said it was substantively involved during the research phase of the report released this week recommending a new downtown arena and convention centre.
“We agree with the findings that to maintain and grow the convention, entertainment and sport industries in our city, Saskatoon needs new facilities that will attract that business,” the organization stated.
“With the location, age and design of our current arena and convention centre, the report found that we will begin to lose business to other destinations better able to accommodate their event needs.”
Tourism Saskatoon noted its teams handling national and international conventions – as well as Saskatoon Sport Tourism – are trying to secure events for the city on a daily basis.
According to the organization, Saskatoon lost bids for both the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Diabetes Canada, due to capacity shortfalls at TCU Place.
“This is a loss to our city of more than 4,600 delegates who would have spent in excess of $4.5 million in our local economy,” Tourism Saskatoon stated.
Todd Brandt, president and CEO of Tourism Saskatoon, has been in his role with the organization for more than 20 years.
In the news release, Brandt pointed to the organization’s current strategic plan, authored in 2014, that identifies the need to expand hosting capacities at both TCU Place and SaskTel Centre in order to remain competitive.
“We will be losing bids to host at an increasing rate. The longer it takes to build, the more grim our situation will become,” he said.