City council turns down request for more public funding for arena
Published Wednesday, September 12, 2012 12:24PM MDT
Hours after City Council turned down the Katz Group’s request for more public funds to go towards the downtown arena project – the company issued a statement.
The statement was made Wednesday afternoon, after a closed-door council meeting on the request – that happened just before noon.
After the councillors left the private meeting, Mayor Stephen Mandel told CTV News the Katz Group had asked for more public funding – a request that was denied by a motion from city councillors.
The circumstances surrounding the meeting had the mayor, and councillors discouraged.
“I think that you can echo the words frustration,” Councillor Kim Krushell said. “I think that’s what council felt.”
The council motion referred to the October, 2011 agreement reached between council and the Katz Group – the city agreed to cover $250 million of the total costs related to the project:
That deal also included $100 million investment from the Katz Group over 35 years.
When asked if he’s optimistic on the outlook for the project – Mandel said: “Optimistic is not a word I’d use.”
A source on council told CTV News that no specific amount of money was requested, but the Katz Group was looking to significantly change the deal.
The Katz Group released an official statement later Wednesday, which in part, reads:
"We share City Council's desire to develop a world-class arena for $450 million, but two years of design and engineering work tell us it simply cannot be done without sacrificing the public's demands for an iconic arena that is well-integrated with surrounding neighbourhoods, or in a way that makes economic sense for both parties.”
The statement goes on to say the company would continue to work with the city to get the arena built – and millions had been spent to get the project to the point it is at today.
The company also offered to pay what they called a fair share of the extra costs over the maximum costs set in October.
However, no number was set in the statement.
“Administration and council will have to look at what the response is from the Katz Group and go from there,” Mandel said.
City staff are expected to speak to the Katz Group in the coming days.
In July, councillors heard the projected cost for the project was more than $30 million higher than the $450 million maximum cost agreed upon before.
In addition, a $100 million funding gap remains – the city has been attempting to have the province cover that cost.
With files from Bill Fortier
Tell us what you think on the latest arena developments. Comment below or take part in the discussion on our CTV Edmonton Facebook Page.