Downtown Saskatoon soccer stadium among pitches to city council

Six groups pushing for new or upgraded recreation facilities in the city will pitch their wish lists to Saskatoon city council on Wednesday.

Council will consider 6 pitches for new or upgraded recreation facilities on Wednesday

Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan takes place on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River. The festival is lobbying the city for support to build a permanent, year-round arts facility. (Trevor Bothorel/CBC )

Six groups pushing for new or upgraded recreation facilities in Saskatoon will pitch their wish lists to city council on Wednesday.

  • The Children's Discovery Museum has plans for a new museum to move into the Mendel building when the art gallery moves out in 2019.
  • Friends of the Bowl Foundation is looking for upgrades to the facility and amenities at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex.
  • Saskatoon SWAT will outline hopes for a new lacrosse facility.
  • Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan has plans to make its current seasonal facilities permanent.
  • Saskatoon's River Park Association will be making an appeal for city support.
  • The Canadian Premier League will outline its proposal for a downtown soccer stadium.

These are projects stakeholders have already approached the city about in the recent past.

Here's a bit more about two of them:

Downtown soccer stadium

Players of all ages participated in the Live Your Goals soccer festival, hosted in part by FIFA, in Saskatoon. A group is trying to bring an indoor stadium to the city, with capacity to seat 8,200 fans. (CBC)
The newly-formed Canadian Premier League has its sights set on a Saskatchewan franchise, but the group has a wish list before a team can be based in Saskatoon.

"For an 8,200-seat stadium with a lot of amenities, such as VIP suites and rooms and a lot of other opportunities for fan engagement within the stadium, we're looking at a cost of between $16 million and $20 million," said Joe Belan, a former player on Canada's U-23 national team.

The proposal is based on a modular design concept, and could last up to 25 years.

"It can ultimately be disassembled but has a more permanent look to it," said Belan.

A similar design has been used in Vancouver by the BC Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps while their home stadium was being renovated.

According to Belan, soccer is growing in popularity, and a modular design would be able to support this growth — and potential expansion.

Belan's group has a downtown plan in mind.

"Even though it's hosting a professional soccer team, we want to make sure the project brings a benefit to the whole city."

The stadium could host other sports, such as rugby, field lacrosse, and ultimate Frisbee, as well as field events like concerts.

Belan said the group is committed to minimizing the cost to the people of Saskatoon.

"We've made it very clear any proposal or funding mechanism we have in place will have no impact on taxpayers," he said.

Permanent stage for Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan

Four Chinese teachers on a year-long stint in Saskatoon — and their accompanying dragon dancers — perform at Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan's community stage. Cultural performances are part of the festival's mandate. (Bridget Yard/CBC News)
It takes Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan staff six weeks to construct the infrastructure needed to put on its performances every summer.

"Both our biggest strength and our biggest challenge is our site," said artistic director Will Brooks.

Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan is shown on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River, across from PotashCorp Playland.

The organization is now hoping to construct a series of permanent structures, starting  as soon as the festival season is over, in 2018.

"We'd like to install a base to the theatre, a concrete amphitheatre, as well as a couple park-style pavilions that will be the box office, bar and dressing rooms," said Brooks.

The project is expected to cost $3 million. The festival plans to assume any fundraising responsibility.

Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan leases the land from the city of Saskatoon, and is also looking for a more long-term lease, to ensure the group would be able to use any new infrastructure for many years.

Brooks envisions other festivals, such as the Jazz Festival and winter festivals, being able to use the upgraded facilities.