A tiny first step? Raiders and city officials tour new facility in Moose Jaw
By Sarah Stone
After a four-hour bus ride from Prince Albert to Moose Jaw, Prince Albert business owners, city officials and Raiders’ board members were ready to explore the city’s multiplex.
The tour of Mosaic Place was given by the facility’s general manager, Scott Clark, in combination with local city officials.
“It’s an impressive facility and that’s why were out fact finding and we’re going to do the best of the best and the worst of the worst,” said Mayor Greg Dionne.
The group of tourists were in awe as they first entered the front doors, where they were confronted with a double staircase amidst a large mural. From there, they were taken around to several modern conference rooms, a large curling rink, lounge areas, arena and box suites.
The main attraction was obviously the arena, which holds 4,065 seats and 21 fixed suites—much larger than the Art Hauser Centre, which contains around 3,000 seats.
“If you’re going to build it you have to build it for the future … don’t build it 4,500 sq. ft. and then in 10-15 years you realize you need a bigger facility,” said Dionne, and he added going bigger will allow larger-scale concerts and events to bring in more revenue.
Clark said as soon as the doors opened in August of 2011, feedback from the Moose Jaw community has been supportive.
“This is a tremendous amount of pride. I mean it took so long to get this project off the ground and make it the reality that it is. When it’s over a 10-year project to make this thing happen the amount of pride that people here in Moose Jaw have is amazing,” Clark said, explaining they’ve had a diverse number of events at Mosaic Place including hockey games, motocross, concerts and curling.
“The building converts extremely well. The market place has supported the diversity of events and it’s just brought so much economic diversity and economic generation to the City of Moose Jaw.”
Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Moose Jaw Jody Hauta also agrees a great amount of pride comes from the community, but said it wasn’t always an easy sell.
“Obviously with any type of big budget expenditure and a facility of this nature it does create sides or controversy within the community. Certainly there was a proactive front that was very much in favour of the project, as well there was a front that wasn’t for the project,” Hauta said.
The facility cost $53.5 million with around $15 million coming from federal funding, $11.5 million provincially, $10 million coming from fundraising efforts and the remainder provided by the city.
Hauta explained if he had any advice for the Prince Albert visitors it would be to ensure there is enough input from potential user groups and learn from other facilities already in use.
And that is just what president of the Raiders Dale McFee said they are trying to do by reaching out to local business owners and city officials.
“There’s more than one way to obviously fund an arena, we get that. This is the infancy stages; it’s about doing homework, it’s about bringing some of the community folks and some of council and I’m grateful that they’ve come to talk strategy,” McFee said.
He goes on to explain the importance of a new facility goes beyond the hockey club.
“As we look forward and we look for new ways of revenue I think you have to capitalize on such things as playoffs, such things as when you can obviously have the opportunity to fill a rink and to obviously bring in other events to the city as well,” he said, adding currently Prince Albert has the smallest rink in the ever-growing WHL.
McFee stressed this isn’t a debate about balancing a new facility with a new bridge or hospital because those are all very important.
“How do we find those reasonable solutions that make sense not only to our city, to our community, to our citizens, but also to the hockey club and is there a balance and is there a way to strike that balance. So this is just a fact finding mission.”
Walking away a little bit smarter
After the tour, the visiting Prince Albert group was split up to speak with Moose Jaw boards and city officials to ask questions and learn more about what has worked and has not worked for the multiplex.
“One thing that came out loud and clear in this facility and talking to people downtown, because this facility is downtown, is of course is the parking issue,” said Dionne, explain there is an apparent lack of accessible parking space.
Many of the other issues that were brought up were realized after the construction of the building and if dealt with ahead of time, could save some money. These things included board wiring, net save and catwalks.
Despite all the talk and tours, no decisions have been made. Dionne says the same as McFee, telling the public not to get too excited because this is just the planning stage. However, growth is on both their minds and they are looking at their options that will aid Prince Albert in the next 10 years or more.
“At the end of the day the citizens [in] Prince Albert, certainly those that support Raider hockey and those that support general events, gives them the venue to obviously have some of those things come to our community,” McFee said.
For pictures of the tour, visit paNOW’s gallery.
On Twitter: @sarahstone84
By Sarah Stone
Prince Albert city officials, Raiders staff and around 30 business owners are loading up on a bus Tuesday to head to Moose Jaw.
The group will be touring Mosaic Place, the city’s multiplex facility, to get a better idea of what a building like that could mean for Prince Albert.
“It’s a brand new rink that the Moose Jaw Warriors have their games in and thanks to the City of Moose Jaw they have a great new facility and we just want to take people here to show them what the facility is like and what it’s done for the Moose Jaw Warriors organization,” said Bruce Vance, business manager and director of marketing for the Prince Albert Raiders.
Some of the members of the business community who will be on the trip include Dean Pellegrini from Leon’s, Ken Burkosky from B & B Asphalt and Fred Matheson from Ted Matheson’s Men’s Wear.
“There’s a really good cross section of businesses that will be present,” Vance said. “They’re invited to just have a look at what the multipurpose facility can do for the economy of community and to help support the major junior hockey team in that city.”
The bus is scheduled to arrive in Moose Jaw around 1:30 p.m. where the group will break for lunch. After that they’ll receive a tour of Mosaic Place from Warriors business manager Corey Nyhagen, Mosaic Place manager Scott Clark and Jody Houta from the City of Moose Jaw.
“They’re excited to go and have a look the rink. We’re going to tour just about every room in the Mosaic Place and show the versatility of the multipurpose facility down there and see the Warriors’ areas,” Vance said.
Matheson admitted he’s never had a chance to see the facility and this would be a good opportunity to see what works for the Moose Jaw community.
“I’m always interested in successful communities and hopefully it’ll make our community more successful. It’s a fact finding mission,” Matheson said, adding a lot of the business owners going have the same philosophy.
“We’re cautiously optimistic I guess is the best way to describe it. We all know that the community needs to grow but it has to be done in the right way, so it’s not a given that we’re not going to build something like this but year’s down the road it may be something to look at.”
Prince Albert city officials, including Mayor Greg Dionne is also on the trip to gather information that will be vital in his 10-year plan for the city. He said a multiplex may be a good way to grow Prince Albert and keep up with the recreational demands, but adds the city needs to do the research first.
After the tour the group will split up. The Raiders staff will join with the Warrior’s staff while Raiders board members separate with the Warrior’s board, Prince Albert city officials will join with the Moose Jaw city officials and the business people will meet with the Moose Jaw business community.
The day will end with the group coming back together to cheer on the Raiders in their game against the Warriors at 7 p.m. before heading home.
Be sure to follow reporter Sarah Stone on Twitter as she tweets live from the tour with updates and pictures.
On Twitter: @sarahstone84
Should a new multiplex be a priority for the city?
Total votes: 129