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Stelmach hints at funds for proposed arena
Jessica Earle, ctvedmonton.ca
Published Thursday, August 18, 2011 4:55PM MDT
In one of his last interviews as Premier of Alberta, Ed Stelmach suggested provincial money could be made available for a downtown arena in Edmonton if the rink is built as part of celebrations for a national milestone.
"What Treasury will do is discuss with municipalities their plans for the 150th anniversary 2017," he said in a one-on-one interview with CTV's Kevin Armstrong.
"There are of course a lot of challenges and a lot of requests for the money coming to the province, but on the other hand we are going to continue those discussions."
The suggestion comes months after Edmonton's Mayor and representatives from the Katz Group agreed to an agreement-in-principle for a new arena, even though the deal still faced a $100 million shortfall.
Since that time, Stephen Mandel has vocally advocated for the province to step in with funds, setting up a high-profile meeting with Stelmach to discuss the issue last month.
The Mayor admits seeking money through national celebration wasn't discussed, though he likes the idea.
"The arena would be one project that would stand a long test of time, that it would be part of 150th - we'll see," he said.
Mandel further suggests the province should have some funds to play with after another massive project for Alberta's capital city fell through.
"They did commit a fair amount of money to Expo and now that money doesn't have to be allocated."
In the past, the province has pitched in public funds to build a football stadium in Edmonton for the Commonwealth Games and an arena in Calgary as part of the 1988 Olympics.
The Mayor suggests if the money comes through, the arena would have to be finished in time for the 2017 celebrations.
A local sports economist tells CTV News it would take at least two years to build a basic rink that would not include any of the surrounding developments also proposed for the downtown area.
The Katz Group did not offer any comment to Thursday's developments.
With Files from Sean Amato
Ed Stelmach speaks to CTV from his home on August 17, 2011.