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Downtown Event & Entertainment District Advisory Group named

For immediate release: March 28, 2022 - 11:30am

As the City moves toward the development of a Downtown Event and Entertainment District, anchored by a new arena and a new or renovated convention centre, the Downtown Event and Entertainment District Advisory Group has been established to foster connections between business, community partners, the provincial government and the City to support the successful implementation of the project. 

Planning for the development of a Downtown Event and Entertainment District is in the preliminary stages, with the current phase focused on the selection of a future site location for a new arena. While the City will retain overall ownership of these new facilities and infrastructure once constructed, numerous community partners, key project partners, and sponsors will be integral in driving the successful development and delivery of the project. 

Having key community agencies represented on the Advisory Group will be tremendously important for the successful development and funding of this project,” says Dan Willems, Director of Technical Services. "In addition, having representation from the Province of Saskatchewan provides a reasonable balance of designated agency representation.” 

The open call for public applications to the Advisory Group resulted in an overwhelming response, and the Governance and Priorities Committee sincerely thanks all valued applicants for their interest. In considering the applications, the Governance and Priorities Committee recommended expanding the number of public representatives from five to six to capture a slightly broader cross-section of the community, while agreeing that the Advisory Group’s overall size and composition need limits to allow for the work of the group to be conducted efficiently and effectively.  

At its meeting Thursday, March 24, the Governance and Priorities Committee of City Council recommended appointment of the following individuals to serve as public representatives on the Advisory Group: 

  • Ali Abukar – CEO, Open Door Society 

  • Bertrand Bartake – Architect, Kindrachuk Agrey Architecture 

  • Alisha Esmail – CEO/Owner, Road Coffee Inc. 

  • Geri Fernet – Retired Business Proprietor 

  • Shawna NelsonHotel Marketing/Management, James Hotel 

  • Stephen Yee – Product Manager, Andgo Systems 

The Committee also accepted the Province of Saskatchewan's recommendation for Ken Cheveldayoff, MLA for Saskatoon Willowgrove, to serve as the Province of Saskatchewan's representative, joining the Advisory Group’s previously appointed agency representation: 

  • Saskatoon Tribal Council Tribal Chief Mark Arcand  

  • Métis Nation-Saskatchewan Western Region 2A Kathie Pruden-Nansel  

  • Downtown Business Improvement District Brent Penner  

  • Riversdale Business Improvement District Randy Pshebylo  

  • Tourism Saskatoon Stephanie Clovechok  

  • North Saskatoon Business Association Keith Moen  

  • The Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce Jason Aebig 

Council representatives on the Advisory Group are Mayor Charlie Clark, Councillor Troy Davies and Councillor Cynthia Block. Councillor Block and Councillor Davies will be the co-chairs of the Advisory Group.  

The recommended appointments will be formally approved by City Council at its meeting on Monday, March 28.  

More information about the Downtown Event & Entertainment District project can be found at