City has a first look at ‘Plan B’ for new Flames arena
Published Monday, April 24, 2017 6:06AM MDT Last Updated Monday, April 24, 2017 7:07PM MDT
City council is looking at the brand new plan for a replacement arena for the Calgary Flames to be built just a short walk away from the existing Saddledome.
Officials are shifting to the new proposal in Victoria Park after the first idea, CalgaryNEXT in the West Village, was deemed ‘dead in the water’.
Right now, the location on the south side of 12 Avenue between Olympic Way and 5 Street S.E. is a parking lot.
The plan will include a field house, but not in the same location. It would be built near the University of Calgary and would also include some renovations to McMahon Stadium.
During Monday’s meeting, council heard a report from staff on the plan’s details and its impacts on the surrounding area.
“There is a lot of vacant empty land there, there is a lot of infrastructure, there are a bunch of condos that have come in, there is a bunch of planned infrastructure, we’re looking at the Green Line alignment through Victoria Park, cycling track work being done,” said Ward 8 councillor Evan Woolley.
Flames players, cleaning out their lockers on Friday, also said they would love to see a new arena to play in and hope that plans are finalized before the beginning of next season, while management would like to see action soon.
“This needs to happen sooner rather than later, it’s important that we expedite the process,” said Ken King, Calgary Flames President. “If we can make a deal in Victoria Park, we will and if we can’t, we’ll revisit whatever other options are available to us.”
Some members of council said more study is needed, and there is no current timeline for 'Plan B'.
"We need to know what the public actually thinks, we hear lots of comments but they are incidental comments, they are not accurate, statistically correct comments, and as an individual that has to make a decision in the near future, I really want to know what my constituents say across the board,” said Shane Keating, Ward 12.
Last month, Mayor Nenshi said that due to excessive costs associated with the CalgaryNEXT project, the plan was ‘dead’.
“The structural feasibility, the transportation networks, could this area support this kind of thing so those are all the first steps, and those are the areas where the reports on the West Village were saying look, this is really challenging, the transportation networks aren’t there, the parking networks aren’t there, the sewer network isn’t there, the electrical network isn’t there and the cleanup will take years and years and years,” he said.
In that location, creosote contamination in the soil would need to be cleaned up before any development could begin and the question of who would foot the bill was a sticking point in discussions.