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Ottawa Mayor: No City Funds for New Senators Arena

RendezVous LeBreton, Ottawa

With discussions over the proposal continuing to unfold, Ottawa mayor Jim Watson says that no city money will go into the construction of a new Ottawa Senators arena.

The Senators and owner Eugene Melnyk are pursuing the construction of a new arena as part of a larger redevelopment plan for Ottawa’s LeBreton Flats district. While the team is pitching the arena as a viable replacement for its current home– the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata–the group must continue negotiations with the National Capital Commission.

Watson, in a recent interview, discussed the city’s potential role in the project. During the interview, he made it clear that the city is not interested in providing funds for the arena’s construction. While the city could have a role in other aspects of the redevelopment, Watson believes that the private sector–not the city–should contribute to the arena’s construction costs. More from the Ottawa Business Journal:

Speaking on CBC’s Ottawa Morning, Watson referenced a council mandate that directs the mayor and and city manager Steve Kanellakos to “protect” city taxpayers should Senators-backed Rendezvous LeBreton – which is in negotiations with the National Capital Commission to develop the 53-acre property west of downtown – look to access municipal financing.

Watson said Thursday that responsibility of building a new home for the Senators lies in the private sector’s hands.

“We’re not interested in subsidizing an arena … It’s not the public that should be putting tax dollars into that,” he told host Hallie Cotnam.

Some, including NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, have pitched the new Senators arena as a way to make the team more financially viable, noting current attendance issues at the Canadian Tire Centre. The team has played in its current facility since 1996.

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