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Regina catalyst committee survey shows support for new library, aquatics facility

The city believes the best site for a new indoor aquatic facility would be the current location of the Lawson Aquatic Centre. Photo: City of Regina

The City of Regina’s catalyst committee has revealed its findings from a survey that looked at what people want to see built in the Queen City.

Twelve-thousand comments were registered as a result of the public survey, giving the catalyst committee a better idea about what the people of Regina want.

Two of the five proposed projects got the most support from the public.

A new indoor aquatics facility with an estimated cost of $173 million had 62.9 per cent of respondents agree.

A new library downtown with a bigger facility to replace the old one at the same location, at a cost of around $125 million, had 56.7 per cent of respondents agree.

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Other projects included a multi-purpose event centre – a new outdoor baseball stadium and a soccer pitch that did not get as much support, according to the survey.

As far as the funding is concerned, the largest chunk of people preferred a combination of federal, provincial and municipal government along with private investment and fundraising.

We also saw the public say to us that if other levels of government are prepared to stand up and fund these infrastructure projects, we want Regina to be shovel-ready so we get our share in the pie,” said Bob Hawkins, city councillor and co-chair of the catalyst committee.

Click to play video: 'Interest groups excited for potential new sports facilities in Regina'
Interest groups excited for potential new sports facilities in Regina

One local swim coach says Regina’s current facilities make it hard to attract competitions, “people don’t really want that competition hosted in Regina right now because we can’t accommodate everyone or they just don’t want to come here to the Lawsons to swim,” said Craig Nieuwstad of the Regina Optimist Dolphins.

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He says the city’s lack of available options has led to impacts on his teams.

President and CEO at Regina Exhibition Association Ltd. Tim Reid said that from 4,500 survey completions 1,200 responses from the community asked that accessibility be considered while building these projects.

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“You’ll see some of the results are regardless of where these facilities end up, they need to be connected. And not only connected by parking lots, (but) to vehicular transit. People want to walk to things, they want to bike to things,” Reid said.

He added that one of the takeaways that they took from the survey results during public engagement was that the public wants more. They want more information not only on the potential sites, they want more information on potential facilities and catalyst projects.

“We have other priorities in our city that are important (and) we need to weigh these against the importance of those and there are some economic realities that we’re facing, or uncertainties, that we should be very mindful of,” Reid said.

The catalyst committee is expected to prepare a report for city council and present their findings in mid-January.

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