Supporters of stadium referendum have say at Regina City Council
People who want a referendum on football stadium funding had their say at Regina City Council Monday night — but in the end the answer was no.
Council heard a petition to force a referendum had gathered 9,800 signatures — well short of the 20,000 required to put a question to a public vote.
Nine people spoke against the stadium plan, arguing that many people feel its it's too expensive, or won't be as good as Mosaic Stadium, or is insufficient because there's no dome.
Some of the speakers said the plan to build a new home for the Saskatchewan Roughriders should be quashed because Regina has a housing shortage and other needs that are more pressing than a stadium.
New stadium at Evraz Place
The city's current plan is to demolish Mosaic Stadium and build a new $278-million open-air facility nearby in Evraz Place, west of the downtown.
The province is giving the city an $80-million grant and a $100-million loan. The Riders will put up $25 million while city taxpayers will pay $73 million through increased property taxes.
The referendum would have asked voters if they think the project should proceed only if city taxpayers aren't on the hook.
According to the city clerk, 1,504 of the 9,800 signatures are considered invalid for various reasons.
In many cases, information was missing. In other cases, the petitioners live outside the city.
There were also questions about whether some of the signatures were properly witnessed, a report to council says.
Mayor Micheal Fougere, a supporter of the city's stadium project, confirmed that the referendum proposal won't proceed.
"There is a 'winner or loser' in this one, you either make the threshold or you don't," he said.