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Federal Money Could be Used for CalgaryNEXT

Proposed CalgaryNEXT arena project

The use of federal money is not out of the question for CalgaryNEXT, but any proposal would have to meet a specific criteria. 

The proposed future home the Calgary Flames has been the source of much debate, specifically whether public money should be used to cover its high price tag. (Various estimates have CalgaryNEXT ranging from $890 million to $1.8 billion.) If Calgary were to seek federal money to help cover its costs, the proposal would have to meet certain conditions, according to Calgary Centre MP and Veterans Affairs Kent Hehr.

Hehr that the use of federal money is virtually out of the question for any component that had to do with CalgaryNEXT’s major tenants, including the Flames and the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders. While subsidizing facilities for the two franchises is not in Canada’s interest, Hehr would not rule two possibilities. First, Canada might be willing to fund components of CalgaryNEXT that have to do with promoting youth sports within Calgary. Furthermore, federal dollars could also be on the table for environmental work relating to the site. More from the Calgary Herald:

There are no specific federal or provincial programs that would fund the decontamination of the site but during last fall’s federal election campaign, Hehr as a candidate suggested Ottawa could have a part to play in the clean-up.

“Environmental remediation is the responsibility of all governments,” he reiterated this week.

“That has an outstanding liability that affects Calgary and the like and should there be a provincial and civic lead on making that a priority, I’m certain there could be asks made … to possibly be part of that environmental reclamation.”

While this would help solve a major issue if Calgary finds that the site requires extensive cleanup, there remains a major gap between the desires of the Flames and the general public’s perception of the project. Recent pollling showed, at best, mixed reaction to CalgaryNEXT, and there still does not seem to be a consensus between the Flames and the City of Calgary on how much the arena will cost.

Having federal dollars on the table could help, but CalgaryNEXT will have some hurdles to clear to get to that point.

RELATED STORIES: Poll Shows Tepid Reaction to CalgaryNEXT; Councillor Makes Case for CalgaryNEXT; Flames pitch ambitious CalgaryNEXT arena project 

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