Seeking to revive talks of a new Calgary Flames arena, a Calgary city councillor has filed a notice of motion to create an event centre exploration committee.
Discussions over a new arena in Calgary halted last fall, when the Flames announced that they would end their pursuit. In ending the discussions, the Flames cited their frustration over the lack of progress in negotiations with city officials.
In a move that could reactivate discussions, city councillor Jeff Davison filed a motion of notice on behalf of nine other council members on Tuesday to create the committee. The motion is not expected to be considered until May 28, and there would be plenty for the committee to resolve if it is approved. More from The Calgary Herald:
Davison said he isn’t in favour of committing more public dollars than what’s been offered by the city to date toward a potential arena, but that those details would get sorted out later on as the proposed committee works toward a deal that makes sense “for every Calgarian.”
“There’s no new deal at this point,” he said. “The how, the where, the when, what a deal looks like, all of those things are ultimately to be determined. But we’ve got to start from some point and I believe, as city council, it shouldn’t be us sitting around waiting for business to engage with us. We should be going out there and actively engaging with business and trying to make this happen.”
On Monday, Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp., the company that owns the Flames, said in a statement that “based on what has transpired to date, we have no basis on which to believe anything has changed with respect to a new arena.”
A spokesman for the Flames declined to comment further on Tuesday.
There was a considerable gap between the two sides when discussions broke down last fall. The city’s framework accounted for a total project cost of $555 million, with the city contributing $185 million, the team paying $185 million, and the remaining $185 million generated by a ticket tax. When broken down, the city’s contribution included $130 million toward the construction of the arena, plus $30 million in land, and $25 million to demolish the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Flames, according to the proposal they released, offered $275 million toward the construction of a $500-million arena, with the remaining $225 million to be covered by a community revitalization levy.
Until reaching a standstill, the most recent arena discussions had revolved around constructing a new venue in Victoria Park at a site near the Saddledome. 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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