Seeking to gain more public input on the idea, a Calgary councillor will hold a Town Hall this week to discuss a potential Calgary Flames arena.
Calgary officials have been exploring the idea of a new arena for the Flames, who have sought to replace the aging Scotiabank Saddledome with a new facility. While plenty of work needs to be done to flesh out the terms of a potential project, officials have floated the idea of making a new Flames arena an anchor project in a culture and entertainment area in Victoria Park.
On Thursday, councillor Jeromy Farkas will host a Town Hall that includes discussions with residents about a possible new arena. Farkas, who represents the 11th Ward–a district that includes the Saddledome–wants to get a sense of how residents feel about a potential Flames arena. More from the Calgary Herald:
“There’s still a lot of uncertainty and it’s very early days, but I thought I would kick off the conversation and ask Calgarians outright: do you want a new arena and, if so, how much are you willing to pay and what kind of return are you looking for?”
He said some people he has heard from have also been pushing the idea that if taxpayer funds are involved, the proposal should go before Calgarians in a plebiscite, much like residents were given the chance to vote on an Olympic bid.
“Some people are coming to me and saying, ‘you know what, getting involved in potentially financing a new arena is a significant departure from what the city usually does,’ ” Farkas said.
“So this may be a matter that could require going directly to the public, just as a business would go to their shareholders for authorization.”
More details on Thursday evening’s event can be found here. A previous estimate from the Calgary Municipal Land Corp. suggested that a new arena could cost upwards of C$600 million.
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 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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