Possible locations for downtown Saskatoon arena coming in late 2021

The City of Saskatoon has written a roadmap outlining when reports on the downtown arena and bus rapid transit will be presented to councillors.

City unveils timeline for decisions on downtown arena, bus rapid transit

Outdoors shot of Saskatoon City Hall
Proposed locations for Saskatoon's new downtown arena and convention centre are expected to be released in late 2021. (Courtney Markewich/CBC)

The City of Saskatoon has written a roadmap outlining when reports on the downtown arena and bus rapid transit will be presented to councillors.

Council asked administration for the timeline at its meeting in April while discussing a report on the future of Saskatoon's downtown.

Saskatoon has been mulling over the prospect of a downtown arena and entertainment district since 2018, when council decided a replacement to SaskTel Centre and TCU Place should be built in the city's downtown.

While site selection for the project was initially forecast to happen in 2019, it now appears those discussions won't happen until late this year.

"Although land negotiations have slowed with one owner, other opportunities are being pursued concurrently," read the report.

"Considering the need to advance this initiative, in the coming months, the administration will wrap up all land negotiations whether successful or not and present all available options to council in late 2021."

Administration will draft a separate report this summer on how the new arena will be governed.

The report will look at how the current boards of TCU Place and Credit Union Centre will fit into the new structure, as well as other groups such as the Indigenous community, the Chamber of Commerce and the city's business improvement districts.

A timeline of major decisions needed in Saskatoon's downtown arena project. (City of Saskatoon)

Administration will also be writing another report outlining the community engagement process that will begin after the prospective sites are announced.

Eventually, council would decide whether to move forward with a Request for Proposals to find a private project partner. However, the report makes it clear the scope of that partnership would have to be determined by council.

A downtown event and entertainment district master plan would then be presented in the middle of next year.

As of now, there is no specific timeline for when a funding plan would be approved or when construction of the potential arena might begin.

The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system has already been approved by council and the project has been put forward for the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. If the BRT system is approved by the provincial government for funding, a report will be provided detailing the city's funding requirement, as well as any equipment and infrastructure that will need to be built.

The report will go to council's governance and priorities committee on Monday morning.