Catalyst committee releases recommendations

Regina’s catalyst committee returned after six months with 21 recommendations for five major infrastructure projects.

The recommendations list the order of operation in which the projects should be built, where the funding should come from, and where the projects should be built.

The first proposed project to be built in an indoor aquatic centre, which would see the Lawson Aquatic Centre either replaced or renovated.

The proposal is to build the new centre at the current Lawson Aquatic Centre site. If there are any issues with that site, the Yards have been selected as the secondary location.

The new aquatic centre would include a 10-lane, 50-metre competition pool and a 10-lane, 50-metre dive pool.

As for where the funding for the project will come from, the committee says that the province and the federal government fund 37.5 per cent of the project each, with the city putting forward the remaining 25 per cent.

Currently, the committee-recommended option is to cost $172 million. The committee recommends that the city use $108 million of the city’s remaining ICIP funding for the new centre, and $20 million will go toward a geothermal heating facility at the Lawson site.

Second, up would be the “modernization” of the central library branch.

The “modernization” would cost $125 million and see the demolition of the current central library site.

The current library desperately needs repair as the over 60-year-old building needs “extensive upgrades to both its building envelope and to its mechanical and electrical systems to adequately support all it does,” it reads. The building also does not meet accessibility requirements or building code.”

The third proposed project would be a new multi-purpose event centre replacing the Brandt Centre, slated to be built downtown.

The recommendation for the new area to be built downtown also goes against what the committee heard, as 47 per cent of respondents want the new arena to remain on the REAL District site, 30 per cent want the arena on the Yards, and 10 per cent want it downtown.

The new arena has an estimated price tag of $156 million.

The last two projects would then be the multi-purpose outdoor baseball field and synthetic outdoor soccer field combined into one venue on the former site of Taylor Field.

While the aquatic centre is first on the list of projects to be built, the committee recommends that ‘the development of a connected non-vehicular trail system that will join the various districts in the downtown core.’ be built first.

The committee said the trail project is a priority as “the current non-vehicular transit options within the City Center are lacking in functionality, safety, design, and connectivity.”

Discussions on the catalyst committee report will occur on Wednesday during the executive committee with the catalyst committee co-chairs Tim Reid, president and CEO of Regina Exhibition Association Ltd. (REAL) and co-chair Coun. Bob Hawkins is conducting a technical briefing regarding the report.


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