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Saskatoon city councillor proposes unique idea fund new infrastructure

FILE: Rendition of the George Massey Tunnel Replacement project. (Stephanie Froese, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

A city councillor in Saskatoon has proposed the idea of selling naming rights to two new bridges to help pay for them

SASKATOON (NEWS 1130) – It is a quandary that has plagued many a municipality: how to pay for an expensive project like a bridge or a tunnel?

Coming up with the dollars for something like say a Massey Tunnel replacement can be tricky in a cash-strapped capital budget says Saskatoon city councillor Troy Davies. He, however, has some unique proposals to deal with paying for a pair of new bridges.

“Any new infrastructure items that are coming, we’re currently building two bridges here, and I wanted to look at opportunities to sell the naming rights to those bridges. We’ve done it in our parks. We have a $110-million art gallery that the majority of it has been sold, it looks like NASCAR inside with the amount of names in there but that was the way they needed to do it to get it done.”

While he says naming rights won’t pay for everything, Davies believes selling them can have an impact when it comes to multi-million-dollar projects.

“If we can get another rink out of this because you’re selling naming rights to a bridge for the next 30 years, why wouldn’t we do it? I thought we could sell some naming rights, take those dollars and build another rink. Whoever puts their name on the bridge, if we can use those dollars to build another infrastructure building for the city, like a rink, we can give them (sponsor) name on the rink as well.”

Davies doesn’t think he has the votes to get the idea passed right now, but says those in favour realized the city was in a financial bind.

“At the end of the day, we are getting things off the list that right now, we’re struggling to basically cover through taxpayer dollars. So I was just looking for a different way to do business.”

The city has done similar things albeit with smaller projects like an art gallery and arenas.