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Survey results out for Catalyst Committee

Pool and central library generate most interest; not so much for new events centre and even less for baseball field
Catalyst Committee co-chairs Bob Hawkins and Tim Reid give their reaction to the results of their survey conducted this fall.

REGINA - Results have been released for the community survey for the Catalyst Committee looking into proposed major projects for the city of Regina.

The survey ran Oct. 17 to Nov. 10 and was completed by approximately 4,500 residents. But the responses had some decidedly mixed results, with many respondents lukewarm to a number of the major "transformational" projects being proposed.

According to the findings that were released released: 

On the proposal to replace the Lawson Aquatic Centre with a new 265,000 square foot facility at a cost of $173 million ($146 million in construction costs), 32.8 percent “strongly agree” with public investment, with 30.1 per cent “agree”, 15.5 per cent somewhat disagree and 21.7 per cent strongly disagree.

When asked how big a priority it was, the largest response, 27.5 per cent, replied “not at all a priority.”

On a proposed new central library, only 27.7 per cent “strongly agree” with public funding with the largest response, 29 per cent, being “agree”. On how much the project was a priority, the largest response of 26.7 per cent replied “not at all a priority.”

For a proposed multipurpose event centre to replace Brandt Centre, the largest response, 39 per cent, said they “strongly disagree” with public investment in the project and 41.6 per cent responded it was “not at all a priority.”

For the proposed multi-purpose baseball facility, those numbers were even more pronounced at 43.7 percent and 51.5 per cent. And 40.1 per cent also reported that an outdoor field was also not at all a priority.

Regarding the location of a proposed multi-purpose event centre and central library downtown, the largest response of 33.4 per cent was “strongly disagree.” That number rose to 40.6 per cent when asked if those should be next to each other.

When asked to rate their top two priorities, the largest response of 2486 favored the aquatic centre, followed by modernization of the central library at 2282, the multipurpose event centre at 1654, outdoor baseball at 817 and the soccer pitch at 663. 

The online responses came following public information sessions held Oct. 17 to 20 at Mosaic Stadium, where more than 800 attendees heard presentations on the various projects. 

The results were released at a news conference Thursday morning by Catalyst Committee co-chairs Councillor Bob Hawkins and Tim Reid, President and CEO of REAL.

Hawkins said the surveys got a “great response” and “it shows the city and the public were aware of the projects, were interested to give input.” He said the surveys covered the demographic of the city and all geographic areas. He said the pool and the library came out stronger in terms of public awareness and interest.

Reid said one of the takeaways is the public want more information.

“They want more information not only on potential sites. They want more information on potential facilities and the catalyst projects, and some there is a desire for more information. I think for us as a catalyst committee, we certainly recognize that part of our role is to make sure that we assemble that information and provide it as quickly as possible.”

Another takeaway they identified was that, regardless of where the facilities were located, they needed to be connected, with people wanting to walk or bike or take alternative modes of getting there. 

A need to rejuvenate downtown was also identified, but “there are some questions about what fits downtown, so there’s a lot of work to do,” said Reid.

The next major step is for the Catalyst Committee is to prepare and bring back their full report to council in mid-January. As for the Catalyst Committee survey, the full results can be found here.