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Regina’s Taylor Field to become home to aquatic centre, not affordable housing

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Regina’s Taylor Field to become home to aquatic centre, not affordable housing
The old Taylor Field /Mosaic Stadium in Regina was torn down in 2017, but for the past seven years, the lot has been nothing more than a pile of dirt. The lot was supposed to be used for low-income housing, but now the new aquatic centre will use it as a home – Mar 15, 2024

The old Taylor Field /Mosaic Stadium in Regina was torn down in 2017, but for the past seven years, the lot has been nothing more than a pile of dirt.

In 2011, the City of Regina and then-mayor mayor Pat Fiacco planned to build low-income housing on the land.

Last week, however, the city announced plans to build a new aquatic centre instead.

The decision is causing frustration for some people around the city, including Peter Gilmer, an advocate with the Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry.

“The need for low-cost housing at that time was extremely high, as it continues to be today,” Gilmer said.

“Now that we’ve got the combination of skyrocketing rents and extremely low vacancy rates, we think that low-cost housing should be a top priority of all levels of government. The city needs to make sure that facilitating the process of expanding low-cost housing is a top priority.”

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According to the City of Regina, the “Taylor Field neighbourhood was part of the original Regina Revitalization Initiative Vision adopted by Council in 2011 which is to provide a neighbourhood that will provide mixed-income housing options, for purchase and rental.”

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In 2023, the city continued to make progress on the project and was in the process of applying for funding from the provincial and federal governments.

According to Ward 3 councillor Andrew Stevens, however, there was no official plan to change the neighbourhood.

“The concept plan was a general idea of what could be built there, but there was no official planning document that would establish a neighbourhood or an extension of the north central neighbourhood that was officially approved by council,” Stevens explained.

Gilmer said he believes the aquatic centre will be a big addition to the community. The problem is that promises of housing now face an uncertain future.

Stevens said understands the frustration but added that the term “affordable housing” was used “loosely” back in 2011. He said the housing would generally be just below market prices and not necessarily for low-income families.

“I think residents are rightfully concerned that there was a plan made and that promise never made its way into an official community concept, plan or document that would have to be approved ultimately by the provincial government,” Stevens said.

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“It was a high-level idea of what could happen there, but it never really materialized. And I think there were some details that were not really spelled out and I think we have to reflect on that now.”

Regina Mayor Sandra Masters echoed Stevens comments, saying under the current city council, there has never been a discussion on the Taylor Field land.

Masters said there will still be space for other projects on the land after the aquatic centre is built, but there is no current plan. Roughly six acres of land will be left over to use.

“When the indoor aquatic facility gets surveyed out and construction starts, there would be additional land (available),” Masters said. “I believe they hired a consultant to determine the best use of some of that land.”

“We do believe it will be housing,” Masters continued, adding she expects it to be a mix of low-income housing and standard properties. “We want more people living downtown. What we are looking at with our city centre core is housing as a top priority all the way around.”

Masters said it would be up to developers to put forward pitches on the land, rather than the city pushing it in a specific direction.

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