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City to take another look at a new event centre for Calgary
Published Sunday, May 27, 2018 2:50PM MDT
Last Updated Sunday, May 27, 2018 6:25PM MDT
On Monday, city council will be selecting a new committee that’s expected to take another kick at the can in terms of a new arena to replace the Scotiabank Saddledome that many say has outlived its lifespan.
Ward 6 councillor Jeff Davison, who drafted the notice of motion to establish the subcommittee, says he wanted things to move ahead again because he wasn’t satisfied with how council left the matter before.
“The city’s misstep last time was we didn’t really come to the table with a vision. So that’s really what this committee would be tasked with is bringing together the vision and from where it leads from there, time will tell.”
The last time that Calgary explored a new arena was with a $555M option in Victoria Park that saw the costs picked up in equal parts by the city, the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation and a ticket tax.
Flames president Ken King panned that idea, saying that it wouldn’t work for the organization and abruptly ended talks with the city.
Davison says he’ll be putting his name forward to be a part of the new group that will work with the city’s many partners on the project, including the Calgary Flames.
He says that the committee needs to establish the basics before moving forward at all.
“Ultimately, this committee is tasked with identifying a vision of why we’re putting it together and can we put together a deal that can benefit every Calgarian.”
By that, Davison means that it shouldn’t matter if you are season ticket holder or an avid concertgoer; there should be some benefit in a new event centre for everyone in the city that puts money into it through their taxes.
“When we invest in opportunities like this that are revenue driving that allows us the ability to go back and say every Calgarian can benefit from this.”
There is still support for a new arena in Calgary because many people know about the opportunities that the city is missing out on without one.
Habana Gutierrez, an international student, says she missed out on an opportunity to see one of her favourite bands, Coldplay, because the group didn’t stop in Calgary.
“I really like Coldplay and they didn’t come here, they went to Edmonton and I couldn’t go because I had class. If it was in Calgary, I could’ve.”
Bruce Day, a Calgary resident, says there is a real need to replace the Saddledome, but it shouldn’t come with a huge price tag for the public.
He agrees with the idea to create a subcommittee and thinks it may be just the thing to iron things out.
“It’s fine to explore and see what works, see what citizens are willing to pay for, what contributions the citizens of Calgary are willing to make. If you look at what Edmonton did, there was a lot of public money that went into that, and it’s certainly a very successful looking building, so I remain open minded on it.”
Davison says that subcommittee will take a look at all the options for a new event centre, including both East and West Village proposals.
“The committee really has to identify all options at this point. Obviously the East Village makes a lot of sense but what’s the future vision of the West Village? What are the opportunities that we’re missing?”
He adds that there will still be hard decisions ahead no matter where the new arena is placed.
“Regardless of location, there’s going to be challenges. It’s really about where does that vision fit and how do we identify those challenges and what makes sense.”
City council meets on Monday at 9:30 a.m.
(With files from Alesia Fieldberg)