Calgary officials have been discussing long-term priorities for the Rivers District, a proposed culture and entertainment area that could factor into the future of Victoria Park. One of the projects that the city intends to explore for that district is a new arena, which would serve as an anchor for surrounding amenities while giving the Flames a replacement for the aging Scotiabank Saddledome.
On Monday, the Calgary City Council voted to approve a “work plan” for the previously formed event centre assessment committee. That effectively allows the committee to begin putting together a framework for a new Flames arena, and eventually present those proposed terms to the team. More from the Calgary Herald:
Council members voted to approve a “work plan” for council’s event centre assessment committee at a strategic council meeting late Monday night. The vote came following more than eight hours of debate on council’s capital spending priorities, including a new $600-million arena, a doubling in size of the BMO Centre, an expansion of Arts Commons and a new field house.
Committee chair Jeff Davison suggested Monday’s vote put the arena project in “first position” — alongside the BMO Centre expansion — as the two capital projects that should top council’s queue when it comes to funding.
“By approving the work plan last night, council was giving priority to the events centre because obviously BMO is already moving forward,” Davison said Tuesday. “So this would then put the events centre into that next position.
“We will now go to the next stage of developing a terms sheet to present to the Calgary Flames.”
Previous discussions about a new arena broke down in the fall of 2017, hitting a stalemate because the Flames and city could not resolve considerable differences over the economics of the proposal. However, Calgary officials have been making overtures since last year about reengaging the Flames in discussions, with the current concept centering around a new arena–recently estimated to cost upwards of $600 million–anchoring surrounding development in Victoria Park. As noted, the new arena would replace the Saddledome, which opened in 1983 and is currently the second-oldest facility among full-time NHL arenas.
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