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Downtown Event and Entertainment District planning moves forward

For immediate release: January 22, 2020 - 4:05pm

Following the direction of City Council, negotiations on possible locations for a new Downtown Event and Entertainment District continue to move forward.

“As one of the most significant projects the City is likely to undertake in the next decade, we are investing significant efforts to ensure pre-planning and site analysis is thoroughly completed,” says Dan Willems, Director of Technical Services.

"This file is extremely active and we are currently working with landowners and key stakeholders,” says Willems.

An Information Report will be presented to City Council at its meeting on Monday, January 27, 2020. In the report, Administration provides an update on the site selection process for a Downtown Event and Entertainment District, which includes:

  • Researching best practices and reviewing the experience of other cities in developing comparable downtown event entertainment districts;
  • Engaging the services of two external advisory firms with experience in the development of arena/convention centre/entertainment districts to gain insight into aspects such as site design, patron access, site access (loading/unloading, etc.) and other technical considerations that will influence the feasibility of potential sites; and,
  • Negotiating with owners of potential private sites, in addition to assessing all potential sites on City-owned property. 

As negotiations have progressed, it has become evident that additional time will be required to sort out the necessary details to secure land and achieve an agreeable outcome for all parties before public communications on the potential sites can occur.

Once negotiations with private site owners have progressed further, Administration will report back to City Council on the preferred site options and recommended public engagement strategy.

“The public will be able to provide input on all sites that were considered reasonable options before Council is asked to formally approve a preferred location for a future event and entertainment district,” Willems says.

Information will be available on later in the year with details on how the public can get involved.