Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach was briefed on the proposed Edmonton Oilers (NHL) arena and asked to provide $100 million in provincial funding; a decision should come sooner rather than later.
Stelmach is leaving office after his current term ends, and he’s pledged to help arrive at some sort of arena conclusion in Edmonton before then. That means deciding whether it’s appropriate to have the province help fund the arena and, if so, to what extent.
A meeting between Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel yesterday didn’t yield any solid commitments, but it did apparently lead to a path to funding via the provincial Municipal Sustainability Initiative, used to fund infrastructure improvements. The city has already allocated its share from this fund, but their share could be increased by the province based on the arena funding.
There’s been a lot of work on the arena plans: the design has been changed in many ways to liven up the proposed entertainment district and minimize the impact on the neighborhood. For instance, a new pedestrian plaza linking the arena and City Hall will feature two-story buildings with balconies and plenty of open fireplaces; garbage collection was shifted to a building below grade to keep smells and sounds from the area.
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