A day after arena vote, mayor takes shots at councillors who voted against project
Julia Parrish, CTV Edmonton
Published Thursday, May 16, 2013 11:54AM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 16, 2013 5:38PM MDT
Less than a day had passed since City Council voted to move forward with the downtown arena project – the mayor took aim at the trio of councillors who voted against the final funding model for the project.
In a special council meeting Wednesday afternoon, City Council voted 10-3 in favour of a final funding model for the project.
Some details of the project changed Wednesday, with the final funding model for the $480 million broken down into the following points:
- $279 million from the CRL
- $125 million from the ticket surcharge
- $137.8 million from lease revenue
- $23.6 million from the Edmonton Arena Corporation (Katz Group)
- $25 million from other government sources (Regional Collaboration Program)
Last week, the city received support from the Capital Region Board for an application for $25 million from the province's Regional Collaboration Program, a program that funds projects benefitting regions as a whole.
Councillors Linda Sloan, Tony Caterina and Kerry Diotte did not support Wednesday’s motion.
“There’s a couple of people that don’t support anything, so it doesn’t make much difference,” Mandel said Thursday.
On Thursday morning, Caterina defended his decision to vote against the project, saying he was not confident with the deal.
“I can take personal risks if it’s my own money we’re talking about,” Caterina said. “But this is public money and certainly we needed a little better indication of whether the province is actually in or not.”
The city is in the process of applying for the $25 million from the Regional Collaboration Program.
However, Mandel said the councillors who didn’t support the project, were trying to hold the city back.
“It’s sad those people are so narrow-minded they can’t see what Edmonton really needs to grow, and why this project as an infrastructure project was so important,” Mandel said. “But fortunately, we have ten councillors who are visionary enough to realize it’s more important to build a city than to sit back and do nothing.”
It’s an allegation Caterina said was not true.
“I disagree certainly with that comment from the mayor,” Caterina said. “He’s perpetuating that anybody that’s against his position or the arena position is being demonized for no good reason.
“We want to ask tough questions, I think we absolutely could have negotiated a much better deal.”
Downtown officials, Oilers CEO looking forward to new arena
In the meantime, Executive Director of the Downtown Business Association Jim Taylor said he believed the polarizing effects of the ongoing downtown arena debate were based around the funding model – and now that it’s been sorted out, public opinion on the project is mostly united.
“I don’t think the citizens of Edmonton really know yet what the impact is going to be, not only on the downtown, but on the whole city,” Taylor said in an interview with CTV Morning Live Thursday. “We’ve never seen the kind of numbers that we’re seeing in a short period of time for development in this city before. This is going to be a game changer for this city.”
The President and CEO of the Oilers, Patrick Laforge said he’s excited the arena is coming together.
“I’m one of those guys that like to wake up and open my gifts,” Laforge said Thursday morning. “You know today, big news, you turn on the TV and say ‘Yeah, it really did happen’, so I’m pretty excited.”
Taylor told CTV News it’s a long time coming.
“I knew it was going to come all along, my worry was that the rest of the city didn’t know and it was causing all kinds of divisiveness and an issue really in the city,” Taylor said. “We’ve resolved that now and yesterday was just a huge day.”
Construction on the downtown arena is expected to begin in the spring of 2014, to open for business in time for the 2016 hockey season.
With files from Laura Tupper