There are many unanswered logistical questions at City Hall, now that it’s been confirmed the Canadian Finals Rodeo will remain an additional two years beyond what was going to be the final event this November. Topping that list, is what does it mean to the future of the Northlands Coliseum.
“I was quite frankly hoping we’d be able to move ahead more quickly with a re-purposing of Rexall,” Mayor Don Iveson told reporters after it was confirmed that Northlands and the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association had reached an extension for the CFR to play the Coliseum in 2017 and 2018.
“It can cause more challenges in terms of the re-purposing of the building.”
“I don’t have a firm conclusion on this yet, I’m still getting information.”
Northlands continued negotiations with the CPRA even after an MOU was signed with Saskatoon representatives. Unlike what took place in the spring, this latest round of talks did not include the city, or the Oilers Entertainment Group.
“My understanding is they’re not (involved),” Coun. Michael Oshry said of the Oilers. “It’s a great thing for the city,” Oshry said.
Not only has mayor Don Iveson been in the dark on this latest twist in the future of the Canadian Finals Rodeo, the same can be said for Tourism Saskatoon who thought they had a deal.
“Dispite reaching out numerous times to their new leadership, there was no responses back from them,” said president and CEO Todd Brandt.
In hindsight, the silence heard in Saskatoon is telling. “I still haven’t had any calls and it’s really unfortunate,” Brandt said. “We thought we put together a good business model which showed a full investment of Saskatoon to do this event and do it well.”
Northlands has called a news conference for Wednesday to announce the deal. They’ve refused comment until then.
The deal also means Mayor Don Iveson will try to get info on where things stand with the Coliseum. “We heard loud and clear from the community that Northlands suggestion of re-purposing it for amateur sport was great one. And support from OEG and Hockey Canada to pursue that so this does add some tension to that ongoing work.”
He’d like to see the CFR work in conjunction with OEG at some point, even adding to the Pro Bull Riding tour that OEG has added to the calendar. Iveson would like to see those events team with an expanded Farm Fair that in his view should be spread through out the year with an equipment, livestock and grain component held at three different times.