After spending months in a stalemate, it appears that discussions over a new Calgary Flames arena could be reignited by a group of elected officials.
The Flames and the City of Calgary were discussing a potential replacement for the Scotiabank Saddledome until last September, when the team announced that it was ending its pursuit of a new arena. In ending the discussions, the Flames cited their frustration over the lack of progress in negotiations with city officials.
There has been little talk of a new arena in the period since, but members of the Calgary City Council could change that. An idea has surfaced to form a committee to work on negotiations over the arena, with officials hoping that some new voices in the process could give the discussions some momentum. More from StarMetro Calgary:
“Initially, it should be new blood that’s on it to give it a different perspective than we’re getting now,” said Coun. Ray Jones.
“The longer we leave it, the more it just kind of goes away,” he explained. “Everybody right now is gung ho to get going on it, and I think we should take advantage of that.”…
In addition to Jones, councillors Ward Sutherland, George Chahal, Sean Chu, Shane Keating, Peter Demong, Diane Colley-Urquhart, Joe Magliocca, Evan Woolley and Jeff Davison are directly involved in or aware of discussions to restart talks and form a new committee.
“We’ve got to get a few oars in the water here and moving in the same direction before we really can make any headway with it,” said Davison, who is leading the charge.
Until they ceased last September, discussions had revolved around building a new arena in Victoria Park at a site near the Saddledome. The two sides were unable to bridge the gap in their plans, as the city called for a project funding model that included its contribution, money from the Flames, and revenue from a ticket surcharge. In the team’s proposal, the Flames would have paid $275 million toward the construction of a new arena, with the remaining $225 million covered by a community revitalization levy.
The idea of replacing the Saddledome had been floated around for a few years. In 2015, the Flames unveiled plans for the ambitious CalgaryNext development, but the proposal struggled to gain traction with the city over concerns about its cost. Originally opening in 1983, the Saddledome is currently the second-oldest arena in the NHL, with only Madison Square Garden–which has received significant renovations over the years–pre-dating it among active venues.
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