Calgary councillors call for extended consultation on arena deal
Published Friday, July 26, 2019 7:01AM MDT
Last Updated Friday, July 26, 2019 7:26PM MDT
A pair of Calgary city councillors is asking the city for an extended consultation period on a tentative arena deal.
On Monday, the city said it had struck a deal with the Calgary Flames to evenly split the cost of a $550 million event centre.
Council is expected to vote to finalize the agreement at a meeting on Tuesday, but public consultation is only being accepted until noon on Friday.
Councillors Evan Woolley and Jeromy Farkas are both taking issue with the rushed period of public feedback that was scheduled for a little more than three and a half days.
In a letter to the city manager, Woolley is proposing a two-week engagement period in early September with a final decision to be made by council by the end of that month.
“There are many good components in their terms and conditions,” Woolley’s letter reads.
“The process in which the terms and conditions were brought to Council and the limited time for review is disappointing.”
Farkas chimed in with a letter of his own to city administration.
He cited a resolution that was approved by council on March 4, directing administration to work with the Events Centre Committee to develop a proper public engagement plan.
"I am duty bound to bring to your attention my reasonable concern that a final and rushed decision on the people terms and conditions —without complying with engagement policies or fulfilling the aforementioned commitment to engage Calgarians - may expose City Council and Administration to reputational, financial, or legal risks,” Farkas wrote.
Calgary’s proposal has the Flames and city splitting the $550 million price tag down the middle. The city would then pay an additional $12.4 million to demolish the Saddledome and the Flames would cover the maintenance and operating costs for 35 years for the building.
The Flames would keep a majority of the revenue from all events at a new arena, except for two per cent of ticket revenue, which would go to the city.
Edmonton’s Rogers Place cost $483.5 million to build. The EAC forked over $19.7 million up front and will pay $112.8 million in rent over the course of a 35-year lease. The city paid $226 million and another $125 million is being collected through a ticket tax.
Ward 6 Councillor Jeff Davison, who is chair of the Event Centre Assessment Committee, said if councillors don’t vote in favour of the proposal on Monday, 'there will be no deal to be found. It would be off the table.'