Woolley adamant Calgary will get new arena, says location north of Saddledome being considered
The Calgary Planning Commission presented plans for the future ‘The Rivers District’ to council on Thursday but the document failed to include the site of a new arena which, according to one councillor, was an oversight.
The Rivers District will encompass Stampede Park as well as other areas of East Victoria Park.
Ward 8 councillor Evan Woolley says the planning commission admitted on Thursday that its presentation failed to identify the site of a proposed event centre.
“We are calling it the cultural and entertainment district, it’s been identified as that,” said Woolley. “An events centre/arena will sit within that.”
“At some point in the future, we will have a new arena. We require a new arena. Our arena is one of the oldest in the league. Negotiations are underway for that. We have a very good sense for where exactly that arena is going to sit.”
According to the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation’s ‘Rivers District Master Plan’ (image appears on Page 138), the potential event centre would be situated directly north of the current site of the Scotiabank Saddledome and the area where the Saddledome had stood would be converted into a ‘flexible flat space’ that could be used for parking as well as for large events including conventions and the Calgary Stampede.
Earlier in the day at the grand opening of the Seton Recreation Centre, Mayor Nenshi said he did not want to speak for the Calgary Sports & Entertainment Corporation, which owns the Calgary Flames, but he suspects the group understands a new arena would be part of a much bigger picture.
“I think they have come to terms with the need for an arena to really be part of a broader district and not just kind of plunked down and this is really where that conversation has led to,” said Nenshi before indicating that he believes an arena will be built. “I suspect that will happen but it will require people to come to the table with open minds and open hearts and really understanding what gain the public gets from it.”
“Hopefully we have a chance to start fresh.”
Nenshi says there is no firm timeline for the Calgary Planning Commission’s plan that he says would revitalize East Victoria Park. “The timing is all dependant on money so it could be a four year plan, it could be a 15 year plan. It all depends on what kind of financial arrangements we get in place and when.”
With files from CTV’s Chris Epp