Regina mayor delivers state of the city address with focus on downtown revitalization

Regina mayor Sandra Masters gave her state of the city address Thursday, marking the 55th annual address in the Queen City.

Many Regina business leaders were in attendance to hear how Masters feels about the current state of Regina including past city failures and future projects.

Read more: Catalyst committee 707-page report met with mixed reactions from Regina residents, councillors

On the heels of the catalyst committee proposing a number of projects for city council to debate Wednesday, Masters was quick to share how she felt about the future of Regina.

“We need our city centre to be culture and entertainment and we need to create public value in our dirt fields and we need to stabilize and enhance our downtown,” Masters said during her speech.

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“We either plan for (these projects) and get ready for funding even if we don’t know when it’s coming or our old buildings are going to fail as we spend millions of dollars on duct tape.”

Click to play video: 'Catalyst committee 707-page report met with mixed reactions from Regina residents, councillors'

Catalyst committee 707-page report met with mixed reactions from Regina residents, councillors

The five big projects recommended by the committee include a new aquatic centre, the central library project, the multi-purpose event centre, the outdoor baseball facility and the outdoor synthetic soccer field.

The question for many however, remains where the city will receive funding for the projects as each required at least 20 per cent of the total cost to be covered by the city.

Read more: Regina catalyst committee calls for quick movement on projects citing inflation

Masters did not comment specifically on whether taxes will go up or other programs will be cut, but said she has been in talks with both the provincial and federal governments advocating for funding.

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When the funding does come through, Masters believes it will be a huge step for the city.

“These projects are going to be a godsend for our downtown,” she explained.

Some business leaders at the event told Global News they hope the new projects help to revitalize the Regina business sectors.

“It’s going to increase businesses, it’s going to increase entertainment options downtown and that will attract people to live downtown,” said Tony Playter of the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce.

Read more: Regina residents react to proposed tax increases in 2023-2024 budget

Others however, fear the downtown revamp will leave current residents feeling the pinch in their wallets.

“If we do not take good care of our city centre that tax burden is going to fall on the residents of our city and quite frankly they are not going to be able to keep up with the level of service that everyone currently enjoys,” said Leasa Gibbons, executive director of Regina’s Warehouse Business Improvement District.

City council is expected to debate whether to move forward on the new aquatic centre on March 8, with the other projects scheduled to be discussed on March 22.

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Click to play video: 'Regina catalyst committee takes deep dive at new aquatic centre'

Regina catalyst committee takes deep dive at new aquatic centre

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