More time needed for Saskatoon downtown entertainment district reports

16 Aug 2023 | Canada | 53 |
More time needed for Saskatoon downtown entertainment district reports

The highly debated Downtown Event and Entertainment District was briefly discussed at the City of Saskatoon’s governance and priorities committee meeting on Wednesday, giving an update on when reports should be coming on the project.

Dan Willems, the director of technical services with the city, spoke at the meeting, saying city administration is still working on the project, analyzing the first round of public engagement and putting together a district plan, budget estimates and potential possible revenue tools.

He said an extension was needed to gather more information for some of the upcoming reports.

“Our work schedule is targeting early 2024 for reports to city council with a proposed conceptual design and funding strategy to support the future detailed design and construction,” Willems said.

Coun. Hilary Gough said they were still in the early stages of exploring a community benefit framework, but wondered how administration was creating and maintaining opportunities for that framework in the hunt for a private partner that will end up being a major part of the project.

Willems said they met with one of the community stakeholder groups and will be meeting with others in the coming days, but said early concerns around this project revolve around the broader district.

“Things like livable wages on any new hospitality (jobs), restaurants for example, that may open. Affordable housing was another item that came up, (and) public washrooms, which aren’t necessarily directly tied to an arena and convention centre.”

He added they’ll continue to explore what many of the issues are and said requirements could be added to the contract for the private partner.

Public reports regarding revenue tools that could be added to the funding strategy as well as private partner request-for-proposal evaluation criteria approval are slated for September/October and October/November of this year.

In January and February, reports around conceptual design, convention centre options, community benefit framework, project scope and funding strategy are expected to be presented.

A conceptual design approval report is expected in April or May of 2024.

The detailed design and construction procurement model decision report just shows that it will be ready sometime in 2024.

Another report, revolving around the future of the SaskTel Centre, is deferred beyond 2023, with no other date determined.

And the district plan approval report, which will delve into the results of the public engagement and design process, is expected sometime in mid-2024.

by Global News