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Council expected to start tender process after $50 million raised for Lloydminster Place

Fifty million dollars is now in hand for the proposed Lloydminster Place events centre and the mayor says the matter will return to council to commence the tender procedure.

On Tuesday, the City of Lloydminster announced that the governments of Canada, Saskatchewan and the city are each contributing over $16 million to the $102 million build.

The funding details show:

  • Federal government – $16,463,508
  • Saskatchewan         – $16,665,000
  • Lloydminster           – $16,871,492

Mayor Gerald Aalbers and city councillors are in Saskatoon this week for a Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association meeting.

Aalbers in expressing their excitement for the joint funding from the feds and Saskatchewan says “it is a long time in coming.” He says they continue to have conversations with the Alberta government even as they look to bring the matter to council with the financial commitments that are now in hand.

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With some $52 million still being needed to close the deal, the mayor indicated that council has been cleared to borrow $33 million dollars as well they are looking at sponsorship options and fundraising.

Aalbers explained they are going ahead with this option as it was the maximum grant available under this particular funding stream and the event centre will come back to council for tender procedures.

On the critique that borrowed funds will cost the city for generations to come, the mayor referenced the list of projects on the city’s website which are also in this category like the new RCMP building and the city’s Operations centre. Aalbers admits the rising costs present a challenge even as interest rates appear to be stabilizing.

“This is a challenging project. There’s examples from other communities that are looking at projects such as this. The city of Regina has just gone through a number of items and they’re saying by 2032, the numbers they project today will be 80 per cent higher. So I’m afraid there’s nothing that we build going forward that will get any cheaper.”

Aalbers adds if they don’t move on a grant offer like this one, they don’t know if they will have another opportunity in the future.

Another concern raised is the opportunity cost of building an events centre which may not show a return on investment in the short term as opposed to building a new hospital. Aalbers responds that matters like education and health are provincial responsibilities and the city has to stay in its lane.

“Healthcare is a dual provincial responsibility in our city. I know people are concerned about the hospital and other facilities, but I also need to remind people that we have a lane that we belong in and that lane involves recreation, culture, roads, water, sewer, fire department protection.”

In thanking the federal government and Saskatchewan Aalbers adds Lloydminster Place “will be transformational to our community and region by allowing us to attract an array of large-scale events and entertainment options.”

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Aalbers concludes there’s a lot of work ahead as once construction starts it will be a two-year process and council will have that time as well to source additional funding as required.

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