City committee reviews report on new event centre for Calgary's Rivers District
A committee met on Friday morning to take a look at a new economic impact analysis report and discuss the potential benefits of a new event centre for the city.
The Event Centre Assessment Committee was established to find a location, financial proposals and determine a framework for a facility that would meet the long-term development goals of the city.
They are looking at where to invest in the future and say public dollars will be needed to generate private development in the area.
The committee met to discuss the report from Ernst and Young and talked about the impact of construction from 2019 to 2026 on three projects; the event centre and the expansion of the BMO Centre and Arts Common.
The Event Centre Assessment Committee is being chaired by councillor Jeff Davison who wants to revitalize the Rivers District and build upon the culture and success of the National Music Centre and New Central Library.
Davison says there are economic benefits and more jobs and revenue that could be created by the project.
The venue in the heart of Victoria Park would act in tandem with the BMO Centre expansion and host festivals, live concerts and expos.
A new arena for the Calgary Flames is top of mind for many Calgarians and Davison says the city is in contact with the club and looking at next steps.
"It's really about what's the meaningful impact we can have as a collective within the community. And number two is really what would a proposal look like? And that's really, sort of, where committee will start focusing now, what do the dollars look like, what do we need to get, you know, terms structured and how would we move forward with that," he said.
“It’s about the whole district and that’s the message we want to get across is this is not the same as last time to say, oh, we’re replacing the Saddledome and look what’s happening. We’re not replacing the Saddledome, we’re creating an events centre that does e-entertainment, e-sports, that the outside is just as important as the inside. That we have a gathering place where we’ll have 80 festivals or more, it’s about the whole area, it’s just not about one thing. It’s about all Calgarians being involved not just sports fans,” said Councillor Ward Sutherland.
The report estimates that the three projects would create about 4700 jobs during the construction phase and 1500 jobs when they are complete.
The total capital cost of the three projects is estimated to be $1.7 billion, with $297 million allocated for operating expenses.
The plan will be referred to a meeting on Monday where council will decided what major capital projects to fund over the next few years.
(With files from Mark Villani)