New downtown arena images revealed, questions over funding remain
Published Wednesday, May 16, 2012 5:00PM MDT
New concept images and video of the proposed downtown arena were released Wednesday, but questions still remain over how the project will be paid for.
The price tag has reached $532 million as a result of surrounding infrastructure including cost of land, LRT connections, and sidewalks. There's also a $21 million community rink that is not included in the budget.
The city was seeking $100 million in funding from the province, but Wednesday's council meeting revealed that the city has yet to hold formal discussions with the province about arena funding.
"We've actually not had any formal correspondence on the arena [with the province]," said city manager Simon Farbrother.
The news had some councillors concerned.
"I would prefer at this point the Katz group come up with the additional funds or they take in partners that come up with the funds," said Coun. Tony Caterina.
"Something different than what we have been talking about because the province is our only out and they keep saying no."
Coun. Kerry Diotte says the arena deal should not move forward until a solution for the missing $100 million is reached.
"That was one of the conditions," Diotte said.
"That it won't go ahead without the $100 million dollars, and it is going ahead. I don't think that's right."
But Mayor Stephen Mandel is still hopeful the province will come through with the cash.
"I believe we will do fine," Mandel said.
"We will find ways to get the money from our provincial partners… we hope the government will find ways in which we can fund the needed part of this $100 million and get on with it," he said.
During the provincial election, no party openly stated it would give up public dollars for the arena.
The province said no formal meeting with the city has been arranged at this point, and its stance on the funding has not changed.
The new images of the proposed new home of the Edmonton Oilers' show a steel-and-glass arena, complete with a rough shape of an oil drop, meant to symbolize Edmonton's economy and position as one of the world's great oil regions.
The city is asking Edmontonians for their opinion on the designs.
The meetings are scheduled for May 29, June 5, 6 and 7.
Feedback will also be collected online and through 311.
Take a video tour of the proposed arena below.
With files from Kevin Armstrong