Mayor supports city chipping in $150K for ‘once in a lifetime’ outdoor NHL game
For Mayor Michael Fougere, the Heritage Classic is well worth a $150,000 investment from the City of Regina.Fougere supports a proposal set to come to council’s executive committee on Wednesday. It calls for the city to provide $100,000 in cash and $50,000 worth of services toward the NHL game scheduled for Mosaic Stadium on Oct. 26.“This is why we built the stadium — for these kinds of events, to bring our community together,” Fougere said. “I have no doubt this will sell out. I have no doubt this will be a tremendous success.”The proposal first came to a private session of executive committee in September. Evraz Place is seeking financial support from the city, but also from the Regina Hotel Association and Tourism Saskatchewan. Fougere said the wide range of partners will make it a team effort.“This is a community response to a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said.“It’s going to be a national and international showcasing of our city.”According to an administration report, the economic impact of the event is estimated at between $15 million and $18 million. That comes partly from an expected 3,500 to 6,000 hotel room nights, but Fougere said the city can also count on a boost to restaurant visits and other spending.Fougere said the city’s in-kind service contributions would likely include transit service to the game. He said councillors will have to pinpoint the source of funding for the $100,000 financial grant. He said it will likely come from reserves.However, the idea hasn’t yet locked down unanimous support around the council table.Coun. Andrew Stevens — who admits he’s “not really a mega-event guy” — said he still has some questions.Stevens said he’d be more enthusiastic about long-term impact than “flash in the pan use.”His preference is for the winter sports surface to be built at Mosaic Stadium to last well beyond game day. He said he’s not yet clear on whether that will be the case.He further noted many of the city’s reserves are low. He said council should think hard before dipping into them further, saying the General Fund Reserve is not supposed to be a “trust fund.”In his view, the city should push the province for a hotel tax to help fund major events without burdening property taxpayers. But Stevens acknowledged that a $100,000 cash injection isn’t exactly “onerous.”He agreed with the mayor that the partnerships are encouraging, and noted the event could well be an opportunity to “tell Regina’s story.”The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet and NBC television.The proposal will go to a full meeting of Regina city council after heading through executive committee on Wednesday.If it passes as is, the contribution would hinge on a few conditions: Notably, the province and the community would have to come through with support totalling $700,000.
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