City council approves REAL to take on more debt and long-term plan

Regina city council approved Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) to take on more debt.

Council’s approval will allow REAL to access another $3.4 million in debt, which will not push the organization over its $21 million debt ceiling.

Also, apart from the approval, the city administration will develop a long-term sustainability plan for REAL for the council to consider ahead of the 2024 municipal budget.

“The ability to access the funding that was in the place was needed. It allows us the flexibility to operate in the ways that we have in the past,” President and CEO of REAL Tim Reid said. “The ability that we have to talk about the long-term sustainability has been something I’ve been talking about since I got here, and I was appreciative of the recognition of council that things have to change, and we have to find a better way forward.”

The money will keep REAL out of the red in the short term. With it, REAL would owe $6.9 million by September and be able to meet payment obligations, according to a city administration report presented to the council.

Ward 4 Coun. Lori Bresciani relied on frustration with the organization during the discussion.

“This is our city entity. We own it, and I would say I agree that city taxpayers are tired of having to bail this organization out.”

Reid said he understood the frustration.

“I don’t blame them; I’m frustrated. There’s nobody that likes coming and saying we lost money last year. It’s not what we’ve done as REAL. If you look at our track record prior to COVID-19 we’ve never had this discussion.”

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