If the people in Regina are serious about building a new football stadium, then maybe they should speak with some people in Estevan before they finalize their plans.
Granted, building a football stadium in Saskatchewan's capital is very different from building an arena in Estevan. But Estevan's new arena committee has set new standards when it comes to thinking big, being ambitious and getting corporate support for a venue that will be largely used for sporting events.
Regina has announced plans to build a new, $278.2 million, 33,000-seat open air stadium. In essence, it would be a 21st Century version of Mosaic Stadium (formerly known as Taylor Field).
The new stadium would certainly have all the modern amenities and features that Mosaic Stadium lacks. But it won't be used year-round, and it won't be able to accommodate enough fans for most Rider games. The new stadium would seat only about 2,000 more fans than Mosaic.
This new venue also needs to have a retractable roof. As an open-air venue, it would only be used for six to eight months a year. A dome isn't much better. Domes are passé. If you want a state-of-the-art, year-round venue, then spend the extra dollars on a retractable roof.
There are two truths that have to be confronted about Mosaic Stadium. One, it's a wonderful place to watch a football game. On a Saturday evening in July, when it's 22 C, the winds are calm and the fans are rambunctious, there are few places I would rather be than watching the Riders at Mosaic Stadium.
The other truth about Mosaic is that it is outdated, and a replacement will be needed eventually.
A few years ago, Estevan's new arena committee was formed. Few could have imagined the result. Estevan now boasts Spectra Place, which might be the best arena in the country for a city with less than 25,000 people. Not only is it a magnificent place to watch a game, but it's attracted prominent entertainers, mixed martial arts and other events that wouldn't have been possible in the Civic Auditorium.
Estevan didn't wait until the day when the Civic was unusable. There's five to 10 more years of service remaining in the Civic. This city was pro-active. It conceived and fulfilled some grandiose plans for our new arena/events centre, and the region has been rewarded.
Regina needs to take the same approach with its new stadium. It's a good thing that they're moving forward with the project now, rather than waiting until a condemned sign is about to be placed on Mosaic Stadium. Regina needs to build their stadium the right way, just like Estevan did with Spectra Place. After all, it's a venue that has to last the next 40 years.