The Edmonton City Council could pass a proposed Edmonton Oilers (NHL) downtown arena deal this morning after hearing final testimony on the issue yesterday.
The testimony split along familiar lines: local businesses saying investment in the downtown core would be beneficial to all, with some citizens opposed to any public spending on a sporting facility.
The funding plan under consideration is the one basically in play for more than a year now. The Oilers would pick up $100 million of the $450 million price tag; in addition, $125 million would come from a ticket tax, and $125 million from increased property taxes in the downtown arena area. The final $100 million would be sought from the provincial government. The Oilers would pick up operational and management costs, as well as fund all capital improvements.
In addition, the city would pay for at least $100 million in infrastructure improvements, including a new light-rail stop.
One issue that resolved: the future of Rexall Place and Northlands. The city agreed to a noncompete with the new arena, paving the way for the most lucrative touring acts to be routed to the new downtown arena.
If approved by the City Council today, the city would move ahead with a final contract with Oilers owner Daryl Katz and work on securing provincial funding.
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