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What do Saskatoon city councillors think of the Remai Art Gallery proposals?

Opinions on the River Landing business plan
Reported by Angela Hill
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Saskatoon’s city council is meeting on Monday is set to discuss the $71-million Remai Art Gallery business proposal.

According, to the plan which asks the city for an additional $1.5-million, admission to the gallery will remain free and it is anticipated that the River Landing building will generate just over $750,000 after its first year of operation.

Ahead of the debate, New Talk 650 asked city councillors what they’re thoughts are on the proposal.
Darren Hill, Ward 1
Councillor Darren Hill said the Remai business plan was a “sound proposal.”

“I think what the citizens of Saskatoon will appreciate on that is that the gallery will still remain accessible and free,” Hill said.

He added that he was surprised the business proposal only outlined for two special exhibits a year where patrons would be expected to pay $8 per visit.

“I was expecting to see more than just two over the course of the calendar,” Hill said. “I think we could easily facilitate three to four major national exhibits throughout the course of the year in Saskatoon.”
Pat Lorje, Ward 2
Councillor Pat Lorje did not want to comment.
 Ann Iwanchuk, Ward 3
Councillor Ann Iwanchuk could not be reached for comment.
Myles Heidt, Ward 4
Councillor Myles Heidt said the plan is the “best deal for the tax payers.”

“When you put in the facts from the provincial and federal government and a significant donor who will contribute only to a new facility, what options do we have?”

Heidt added that although he probably doesn’t visit the art enough, having an institution like the Remai will help boost the city’s profile.

“We’re turning into a big city from a small city and these are part of the infrastructure that we need,” Heidt said.
Randy Donauer, Ward 5
Councillor Randy Donauer said he is in favour of the business proposal however he said he had hoped the project would cost less.

“They’re asking for an extra $1.5-million. I probably would have been comfortable with 2/3 of that,” Donauer.

Donauer added however that he was still optimistic that “there was still some room to move” with regards to lowering the proposed gallery’s operating costs.
Charlie Clark, Ward 6
Councillor Charlie Clark said although the gallery will cost taxpayers more money, the business proposal “makes sense.”

“We knew that in building a new gallery that we’re going to have more costs but I think they’ve done a good job of keeping them contained,” Clark said.
Mairin Loewen , Ward 7
Councillor Mairin Loewen said the Remai Art Gallery business proposal outlines a “solid vision” for the art space for the next few years.

“Obviously with a bigger art gallery comes a bigger operating cost but over the long term the city’s contribution to the operating cost will actually go down on a percentage basis,” Loewen said.

Loewen said she will be supporting the proposal and does have any concerns with the plan.
Glenn Penner, Ward 8
Councillor Glenn Penner could not be reached for comment.
Tiffany Paulsen, Ward 9
Councillor Tiffany Paulsen could not be reached for comment.
Bev Dubois, Ward 10
Councillor Bev Dubois could not be reached for comment.