Regina City Council to consider replacing Brandt Centre
Replacement facility would cost approximately $100 million, and would last for 50 years.
The City of Regina's executive committee is eyeing the future of the Brandt Centre — which could include replacing the 43-year-old facility in the years ahead.
Tim Reid, president and CEO with the Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) said the Arena Planning Strategy Committee (APSC) — of which REAL is a member — has been exploring what various paths forward might look like.
"We explored three options," said Reid. "Let's keep it as it is and do nothing. Let's invest into it and modernize the building on its existing footprint. Or let's talk about a new mid-sized multipurpose event centre in our city."
According to the APSC's report, the first option — maintaining the facility as it is — would cost approximately $9 million over the next 20 years.
Renovations could cost up to $40 million, but would only last for about 15 to 20 more years.
And a full replacement would cost in the neighborhood of $100 million, and could last for around 50 years.
"The recommendation that the committee landed on is that we should really focus on the development of a new Brandt Centre," said Reid. "Now, we don't need to do it today, but we certainly need to start to build that plan."
According to Reid, the Brandt Centre has given the city great value for what it cost to build and maintain, and is now coming to the natural end of its lifespan.
"It was opened in the late '70s, so it doesn't owe us anything," he said. "It still is one of the best-performing venues in Canada of its size in terms of number of days, as well as financially."
Funding, location up for discussion
Now, the questions for city council to grapple with include where a new events centre could be built, how much it would cost and who would operate it. Some of the locations floated include Taylor Field, various spaces downtown or remaining at Evraz Place. However, Reid says this is not set in stone.
"Even though we are all accustomed to the Brandt Centre being on the Evraz Place campus, I think one of the really clear undertones of the recommendations from the committee was that this has to be about the most total economic benefit for the City of Regina," he said.
APSC has been invited to return to city council with more detailed recommendations next year.
In the meantime, Reid says ASPC and the City of Regina are moving quickly to put plans in place, in the anticipation that new opportunities to take action may come at any time.
"When the Brandt Centre was built, and when many arenas across Canada were built, it was because we were in a time when there was a lot of funding available," he said. "Ironically, coming out of COVID-19, we may find ourselves in a very similar time.
"And so what the committee wanted us to be ready for was, if there was funding available over the course of the next year … you could turn something around pretty quickly."