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Protesters object to Edmonton arena funding

Edmonton OilersIt was a weekend for protests in Edmonton, as scores of protesters showed up to City Hall to object to public financing of a new Edmonton Oilers (NHL) arena without a referendum or other input.

While we’re not sure there’s a groundswell of public sentiment opposing a new downtown arena — indeed, this story comes from a conservative newspaper and may be overemphasizing the importance of the 30 or so folks (per comments) who showed up to protest — there are some councillors who are arguing the same thing: that the funding plan for the new arena was passed without enough public input.

Of course, debate over this issue has raged for years, even before Daryl Katz bought the Oilers. There’s an entrenched minority who are devoted to Northland and Rexall Place despite all evidence that the facility is seriously outdated. Downtown arenas do have the power to generate additional economic activity — just ask the landowners around downtown St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center — and in such a hockey-crazy town as Edmonton, a new arena makes so much sense.

RELATED STORIES: Alberta: We’re open to some sort of Edmonton arena funding; Edmonton, Oilers reach agreement on framework of arena funding deal; Edmonton approves arena funding plan; Edmonton mayor lays out arena funding plan; Report: New arena needs 30-year commitment from Oilers; Complicating factor in Edmonton arena discussions: Northlands; Seat mortgages pitched for new Edmonton arena; City: New Edmonton arena would revitalize downtown; Oilers: No, we’re not moving to Quebec City; Oilers refine arena plan after public meetings; Katz ups arena offer to $200M; city willing to talk; Edmonton: New downtown arena financially feasible Katz: I will spend $100 million on new downtown arena; Edmonton: Cheaper to renovate than to build new downtown arena; Oilers arena zoning hearing delayed; Katz group submits arena application to Edmonton

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