Bridging the $114M funding shortfall for downtown arena
Published Friday, January 25, 2013 5:15PM MST
Last Updated Friday, January 25, 2013 6:29PM MST
Now that city council has decided to move forward with plans for the downtown arena, and work to set the deal in stone continues, the premier has cast some serious doubt on hopes the province would fill a multi-million dollar funding gap in the project.
The entire downtown arena project has been budgeted to cost $601 million, with funding from several different sources – including $114 million from the provincial government.
The mayor has insisted that sum will come in the form of some type of new lottery from the province.
However, the premier said Friday the money might not come as directly as the city hoped.
“I know there’s been a lot of speculation about that,” Premier Alison Redford said in an interview with CTV News in Calgary Friday. “We’re very clear that the only way we see communities’ being able to use provincial money is through MSI grants.”
MSI is a fund municipalities receive for infrastructure projects.
Back in December, the Conservative Government was not so clear about how money would go to municipalities for projects similar to the downtown arena.
“We’ve talked about doing a sports-select pool or something along those lines,” Minister of Finance Doug Horner said on Dec. 19. “That would allow every municipality to have a piece of that.”
So far, the city has said all of the funding for the project must be in place, or the entire project could be in jeopardy.
At least one city councillor told CTV News Friday he was nervous about the outlook on that funding gap.
“This project has got to find that missing 100 [million dollars] or I find it hard for us to be able to move forward,” Councillor Bryan Anderson said.
For now, officials continue to work on developing a master agreement for the project, which is scheduled to go before council in March.
“The mayor seemed very confident Wednesday,” Anderson said. “Some of the recent comments by the premier have made me feel less confident.
“I think we’ll simply have to wait and see.”
Some possibilities for covering the potential shortfall could be the hope for more revenue from the Community Revitalization Levy, which is already expected to generate $45 million through new tax revenue from the arena district alone – some believe that levy could generate more.
With files from Bill Fortier