Panelists and guests will gather Tuesday at the Remai Modern for a forum on whether Saskatoon should build a downtown arena.
“We need to come up with a strategy to position our arena, and also our convention centre, to remain competitive for years to come,” Sasktel Centre CEO Will Lofdahl said.
A study completed in March by Toronto-based consultants HLT Advisory Inc. recommended building a new arena and convention centre to replace the aging Sasktel Centre and TCU Place.
Lofdahl was the one who presented the study to city council. He said he hopes to see Tuesday’s forum advance the conversation.
“They (HLT Advisory INC.) recommended successor facilities, given the cost of refurbishing the facilities would only add to the life of the current facilities and not really give the additional amenities that you really need in order to remain competitive.”
Lofdahl said Saskatoon is missing out on that competitive edge with each passing day as the 30-year-old Sasktel Centre begins to live out its final years.
“Both TCU Place and Sasktel Centre are nearing the end of their useful life and in order to remain competitive something needs to be done,” he said.
The price tag for a new arena in downtown is pegged anywhere between $330 million and $375 million.
The forum will feature Lofdahl along with a panel including:
- Alan Wallace, a planning consultant with V3 Companies of Canada Ltd. and former Director of Planning and Development for the City of Saskatoon.
- Marcel Petit, executive director with Core Neighbourgood Youth Co-op
- Victor Matheson, a sports economist with College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.
Lofdahl said he wants people to realize a downtown arena is an important issue for Saskatoon and thinks hosting the forum at Remai Modern goes a long way to prove that, citing its ability to bring in tourists and land Saskatoon as one of New York Times’ 52 places to visit in 2018
“Without amenities like this, what is Saskatoon? It’s just another community, and we don’t want to just be another community.”
—With files from 650 CKOM’s Wray Morrison