09/21/2011 07:23 EDT | Updated 11/21/2011 05:12 EST

Premier says new stadium in Regina was to be multi-purpose, not just for 'Riders

REGINA - Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is downplaying the release of documents that show his government tried to get federal money to build a new stadium in Regina.

Wall says the intent of the proposal was the CFL Saskatchewan Roughriders would use it only a few times a year, with trade shows, concerts and other events making up the majority of the time at the stadium.

The premier says the release of the documents is moot, because that stadium project is dead.

Documents obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act indicate that Saskatchewan tried to do an end-run around rules that would prevent the province from tapping into a pot of more than $1 billion to build the new stadium.

The Conservatives designed the $1.2-billion P3 Canada Fund to help pay for infrastructure projects in partnership with other governments and the private sector —money from the fund cannot be spent on facilities "primarily" used for pro sports.

The province said its Canadian Football League team would only use the venue 10 days a year, and the rest of the time, the $400-million stadium would host university and high school football games, concerts, other sporting events and a few conferences.

"The Saskatchewan multi-purpose entertainment facility is not primarily a professional sports facility," says an August 2010 presentation to fund manager P3 Canada.

The province prepared two financial statements: a conservative estimate and a rosier one. The team would account for most of the facility's annual revenue under both scenarios.

The conservative estimate has 31 events at the stadium, which would bring in close to $4.5 million in revenue. Of that, the 10 CFL games would bring in about $3.5 million, or 79 per cent of the facility's revenue.

The rosier estimate projects 71 stadium events and revenues of almost $4.9 million. The Roughriders would account for 72 per cent of that money.

Saskatchewan spiked the stadium project this spring. The city of Regina is now looking at how it could build a stadium.

Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco disputed any suggestion the province tried to skirt the rules when it applied for federal cash for a stadium.

He said it was the federal government that told the province to apply to the fund.

(CJGX, The Canadian Press)