Making Peace Vigil

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THE STADIUM: A FINANCIAL AND SOCIAL DISASTER

Posted by strattof on January 26, 2013

  • The image the City presents of the stadium is a “Concept Design.” 
  • It was produced by the London England-based firm, Pattern Design, along with Mott MacDonald and P3 Architecture, at a cost of $575,000.
  • At additional cost, a Pattern Design architect was flown in from London for the unveiling of the concept design.
  • As City officials admit, the final design for the stadium is likely to bear little resemblance to the concept design.
  • In other words, the concept design was a very expensive public relations exercise.
  • The stadium project is on the agenda of the January 28 meeting of City Council. The documents for this meeting show that the whole funding model for the stadium is dangerous, damaging, and disastrous for the citizens of Regina. (Instructions on how to find these documents are available on the back of this pamphlet.)

STADIUM PROJECT FUNDING FACTS

ESTIMATED COST OF STADIUM PROJECT

Capital Cost                                                       $278.2 million

Maintenance Cost                                              $188.8  million

Debt Servicing Cost                                           $166.2 million

Total Cost                                                          $633.2 million

According to the City’s RRI Stadium Project Funding and Financing document, this $633.2 million dollar stadium will have a “30 year life-cycle.” In other words, it is a throw-away stadium.

DEBT CITY WILL INCUR FOR STADIUM PROJECT

Loan from Province                                          $100 million

City Debt                                                           $100.4 million

Total Debt                                                         $200.4 million

If interest rates stay the same, the interest on this debt will total $133.2 million.

ESTIMATED COST TO REGINA RESIDENTS

  • $261.9 million in Property Taxes is to be paid through a 0.45% mill rate increase each year for 10 years, starting in 2013. By 2022, the mill rate will have increased by 4.5%. This rate will remain for 20 years and continue to be allocated to the stadium project.
  • Since the province contributed $80 million to the stadium project, Regina residents will also pay for the stadium through their provincial taxes.
  • Regina residents who attend games will pay a new facility fee of $12 per game ticket.

FLAWED FUNDING MODEL

The funding model for the stadium project is a house of cards. As the Stadium document indicates, “if any of the assumptions in the financial model change,” the model will collapse and Regina citizens will be on the hook for even more money.

Here are some of the risk factors listed in the document:

  • Cost overruns, which are very likely, given the size of the project
  • An increase in interest rates, which are currently favourably low
  • Less than expected Rider game attendance
  • An increase in maintenance costs

The document also warns that stadium debt will diminish financial resources available for other more urgent projects.  

THE MOST URGENT PROJECT: AFFORDABLE RENTAL HOUSING

In the run-up to the municipal election, Michael Fougere promised that an affordable housing summit would be his “first order of business” if he were elected. Mayor Fougere seems to have forgotten this pledge. Perhaps he needs to be reminded.

We don’t need a stadium. We already have one. We are in desperate need of affordable rental housing.

Regina’s rental vacancy rate is 1%, the lowest in the country. It has remained at or below 1% since 2008. A 3% vacancy rate is considered normal.

  • In 2010, the last year for which figures are available, over 3,400 people used one or more of Regina’s shelter services.
  • Many others double bunked, couch surfed, or lived in overcrowded, unhealthy conditions. Some even lived in cars or garages. These latter groups could easily double the number of homeless people in Regina.
  • Between 2006 and 2010, homeless shelter use in Regina rose by 44.5%.
  • A fulltime minimum wage worker cannot afford a one-bedroom apartment in Regina.

SOLVING THE HOUSING CRISIS:

WHAT REGINA CITY COUNCIL CAN DO

City Council cannot solve all of Regina’s affordable housing problems, but it can do many things. Here are 3 of them:

  • In 2007, Saskatoon had a rental vacancy rate of 0.6%. Today it is 2.6%, which is near normal. Clearly Saskatoon is well on its way to solving its housing crisis. Regina City Council should find out what it is Saskatoon has been doing. 
  • Regina City Council can require developers to include affordable housing in their plans or to pay a fee into an affordable housing account.
  • Regina City Council can pass a bylaw prohibiting the demolition of apartment blocks when the rental vacancy rate is under 3%. If such a bylaw had been in existence in 2012, the 46 unit apartment at 1755 Hamilton Street would still be standing. Now 1755 Hamilton Street is a vacant lot.

TAKE ACTION

            –Go to the City of Regina website.

            –Scroll down to “City Council and Committees” on the left  and click on it.

            –Click on “View Meeting Calendar, Agendas & Decisions.”

            –Scroll down to “City Council Meeting, Monday January 28 2013” and click on  “Agenda.”

            –Scroll down to “CR 13-6, RRI Stadium Project Funding and Financing” and click on it.

            –Click on the first item under “Files.”

  • Attend the January 28 meeting of City Council. It starts at 5:30 pm. Let’s pack the gallery!
  • Attend the SOS Save Our (Mosaic) Stadium rally in front of City Hall, January 28, 4-5 pm.
  • Remind Mayor Fougere he promised that an affordable housing summit would be his “first order of business” if he were elected: Service_Regina@regina.ca or 537-9888.
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