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Northlands set to release plans for the future
Published Tuesday, February 16, 2016 6:29PM MST
After years at the discussion table, Northlands officials are prepared to go public with their long-term strategic plans for the future after the Edmonton Oilers move to the new downtown arena.
In recent years, the not-for-profit has held surveys, spoken with experts, and looked to other cities for inspiration – the results are being called “Vision 20-20”.
“When you lose $7.5 million on your bottom line, obviously you have to reimagine what you’re going to be in the future,” Northlands President and CEO Tim Reid said.
The long-term strategy is expected to include new space for festivals, raising the ceiling on Hall D to create a 5,000 seat concert venue, and possible changes to the race track – with proposed massive changes to Rexall Place, the facility about to lose its major tenant.
“The more urgent issue at this point from a council point-of-view and a community point-of-view is what happens at the Rexall Place site,” Mayor Don Iveson said.
The proposed changes include a major renovation to Recall Place, turning it into a tournament-ready multi-plex, at a cost of $85 million.
The mayor called that price tag a ‘bargain’.
“We might not have planned to build six sheets of ice, but if we’re able to close some of the older single sheet rinks in that quadrant of the city, while we flip over to a new, more efficient, more cost-effective and more durable multi-ice sheet solution, it might be part of the business case,” Iveson said.
Meanwhile, the City won’t be asked to pay for all of it. Council will discuss plans in March, and decide what they want to support.
“I think we’ll have to take a close look at the different pieces, some of them may work, some of them may not, against other city priorities for investment, clearly we’re going to have to do something at Northlands,” Iveson said.
After that, Northlands is expected to approach the province and private partners for funding. Changes at Northlands could come as early as the fall of 2016.
With files from Breanna Karstens-Smith