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Oilers arena zoning hearing delayed

New Edmonton ArenaIssues over the potential funding for a new downtown Edmonton Oilers (NHL) arena is causing the Katz Group to postpone a key zoning hearing, in order to put together a formula that could appeal to politicians and taxpayers.

In theory, the June 26 meeting was slated to an inocuous hearing on the zoning of a single block of what’s envisioned by the Katz Group as a multiuse residential/entertainment complex anchored by a new arena. But it had the potential to be so much more, with arena opponents gunning for elected officials supporting the project in general. There’s one key part of the arena plan missing: a funding formula, past a $100-million commitment from Oilers owner Daryl Katz.

And with municipal elections slated for this fall, arena proponents in the city weren’t eager to reveal any specifics; currently a majority of city councillors support the project, but by putting off any funding plan the issue may not be a big campaign issue.

That’s the theory; we suspect the arena financing will be a big issue in the fall elections anyway.

The current plan calls for the arena to open in the 2014-2015 season.

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