Some of Regina’s mayoral candidates are promising to spend big on leisure and recreation ahead of Monday’s municipal election.
Sandra Masters dove in first, announcing on Oct. 28 a detailed commitment and financial plan for a new $85-million aquatic facility, to eventually replace the Lawson Aquatic Centre, in central Regina.
“If you’re going to be a city that attracts people and jobs, you have to provide some of these services that all other kind of competing cities are doing,” Masters said Thursday.
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The proposal, which is fully detailed on her website, cites recommendations and priorities listed in the City of Regina’s Recreation Master Plan from January 2019.
Nine years earlier, the 2010 Recreation Facility Master Plan recommended that a “centrally located, city-wide indoor facility be provided to serve both leisure and competitive aquatic needs with complementary fitness amenities.”
“It’s going to take at least four years to complete a project like this. To not plan now means, ‘let’s just keep pushing it down the road.’ That’s not an option to me. The economy needs to be stimulated now,” Masters said.
Candidate Darren Bradley said adding and improving recreational facilities is “definitely a priority” if elected mayor.
“Our city has some of the top recreational programs in Canada, but we need to expand to be more competitive and draw people to Regina,” Bradley said, adding right now the city doesn’t have the facilities.
“All of these ideas are geared towards increasing tourism, increasing revenue for our hotel and restaurant industry, making Reginans proud to host such events, and making our city one of the top destinations in Saskatchewan, let alone Canada.”
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On Thursday, candidate Jerry Flegel held a mayoral campaign announcement to finalize the rest of his platform at Fairchild Park in Regina’s Harbour Landing.
The three-term Ward 10 city councillor said that council often talked about “complete neighbourhoods.”
“Without a recreational facility, swimming pool, exercise room, community centre room, all these different types of things — Harbour Landing is one of the areas that is missing this,” he said, noting the facility would be akin to the Sandra Schmirler Leisure Centre.
“Those are the types of hubs these types of communities want. We can go to centralized, we can do all kinds of things, but at the end of the day people want community, they want this.”
Flegel noted that the City of Regina has to keep up with recreation and facility improvements “not just for the city, but for certain areas.”
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Candidate Jim Elliott said he doesn’t have any plans for big-budget recreational spending that isn’t already outlined in the master plan.
He noted that the plan showed an appetite for non-organized recreation — walking, jogging and cycling spaces — but added