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Event centre report: Downtown offers more immediate benefits for less risk

Required rezoning of Kingsway site would delay project start by a year
A concept design of a downtown event centre from the Downtown Event Centre: We All Win lobby. (Supplied)

The downtown core offers the most immediate benefits to the community at the lowest risk, so says the highly anticipated report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers on the Nickel City's event centre project.

The 54-page report was made public this morning. If you're interested in reading it, you can find it in the City Council agenda package available online here. will report in more depth on the document today, but we wanted to provide a quick overview of the recommendation this morning, which supports what we reported late Friday that downtown was being recommended as the best site for a new event centre.

"The results of the site evaluation process revealed two of the four short-listed sites scored significantly higher than the other two, but overall their scores were very close to each other," the report states. 

"The Downtown site had a higher overall score, but the Kingsway site scored highest on two of the three most important factors to Council (Cost and Parking). This is a positive result, since it indicates there are two viable sites that can support this important project."

While both sites scored close together, the report authors stated downtown has the edge.

"The Downtown site offers the opportunity to complement businesses and infrastructure that already exists," the report states. "Experience in other communities shows ... a downtown event centre provides immediate benefits to the community. The proposed site is appropriately zoned, allowing construction to commence in a timely manner once real estate transactions are concluded.

"Ultimately, building on the downtown site offers more immediate benefits to the community and represents the least risk to the City. The necessary infrastructure
and supporting businesses are in place."

The report states further that downtown ranked highest in all categories except parking and cost, though cost is expected to be only "marginally higher."

"It is best aligned with the stated long-term vision for the City and contributes most to city building," the report states.

More to come.