April 16th, 2024

Letter: Since we’re stuck with its location, perhaps the city can make it easier to attend Co-op Place

By Letter to the Editor on January 18, 2024.

Dear Editor,

Collin Gallant’s recent Saturday “City Notebook” column revealed some concerning recent hockey game attendance figures at Co-op Place. (Far less attendance than available arena capacity, and less than the old downtown Arena’s numbers used to help justify the need for a new arena).

I blame the poor attendance partly on a previous city council’s decision, made nearly a decade ago, to build an events centre (aka hockey arena) on the outskirts of our stagnant population growth city. (Some may remember the selected location was even being mocked publicly in the media, by another jurisdiction).

Also, some pubs actually offered transportation for hockey fans to this remote location.

Not all locals drive, including those compromised, younger, older and, hopefully, not after a few drinks. Taxi fares, due to the distances involved, further restrict some from utilizing our event centre.

A quick online search reveals that successful event centres are typically located downtown, accessible to all residents by city transport. Coincidentally, Saskatoon recently decided to relocate its events centre downtown.

Bottom line is we are stuck with Co-op Place’s location. But free (or very low cost) city-dedicated regular bus transportation could improve attendance by locals and especially hotel guests who are not familiar with our city roads, or are in party mode.

This could be an advertised enticement, attracting those thinking about visiting our city to attend an event. I agree with our city council supporting city management of Co-op Place, especially after a great presentation at last Monday’s council meeting revealing six big events already booked,

However, I suggest we must seriously consider investigating means for moving people effortlessly, and economically, to Co-op Place in order to fully appreciate its attendance and economic potential.

Gordon Briosi

Medicine Hat

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