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Council votes unanimously to close Coliseum Jan. 1
Published Wednesday, September 13, 2017 11:42AM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 13, 2017 6:53PM MDT
The City has outlined plans to take over operations of the Coliseum and Northlands Park in 2018.
As of January 1, 2018, the City will take over responsibility of the Coliseum – with the area south of the Coliseum, known as Northlands Park, transitioning to the City June 30, 2018. That transition is taking place 30 days after horse racing is no longer licensed at the site.
Officials said the Coliseum will be permanently closed as of January 1, 2018.
City Council endorsed the timeline Wednesday in a unanimous vote.
“There is no good way out, and at the end of the day, I will support this motion with deep regret, absolutely deep regret,” Councillor Mike Nickel said during Wednesday’s council meeting.
The decision came after the city looked at repurposing the old building, but found it was too expensive.
“If we can purpose, build a new fourplex for way less money, rather than getting into the risk or rehabilitating a 40-50-year-old building, then council started backing away from a repurposing agreement,” Mayor Don Iveson said.
With Wednesday’s decision, the city will swallow the $48 million debt owed by Northlands.
Also on January 1, the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) will take over operations of the EXPO Centre.
Officials said agreements were being arranged to allow Northlands to host Farmfair and K-Days for the next five years.
Plus, with the closure of the Coliseum, the city managed to renegotiate part of the arena deal – the Oilers Entertainment Group has agreed to waive an ongoing sponsorship deal with the city. That decision saves taxpayers about $17 million.
Northlands President and CEO Tim Reid released a statement after the timeline was released Wednesday:
“We credit Mayor, Council and Administration for addressing outstanding issues. Northlands is committed to the highest degree of professionalism through this transition and ask all involved to respect the impact on our 2,800 employees and 1,500 volunteers. We look forward to returning to the site to host Northlands signature festivals in K-Days and Farmfair International.”
As for the future of the Coliseum, the mayor said that will be up to the next City Council to decide.
With files from Nicole Weisberg