Skip to main content

Sohi asks province for roughly $2B in cash including $185M for Commonwealth Stadium upgrades


Edmonton's mayor has unveiled a multi-billion dollar wish list – including money for affordable housing, hydrogen buses and upgrades to Commonwealth Stadium – as Alberta works on a new budget.

The province is set to unveil a fiscal plan next month. In November, Alberta projected a $12.3 billion surplus.

Sohi wrote a letter at that time to Premier Danielle Smith and Finance Minister Travis Toews asking for more money, which he shared publicly on Monday.

On top of nearly $2 billion in requests, the mayor also wants Alberta to pay for 550 new supportive-housing units and to fund 48,830 new affordable homes by 2026 at an unspecified cost.

"During last year's budget, we pared down our asks to four or five core needs and the province delivered on some of those," Sohi said.

"But the biggest challenge I would say, is the province has not supported Edmonton on the crisis of houselessness, mental health and addictions. And that is really hurting Edmontonians."

Sohi also wants the province to pay a portion of the bill to buy 620 new hydrogen buses at a total cost he listed at $840 million. He's also seeking $181 million to build and expand transit garages.

The mayor also requested a top-up to the Municipal Sustainability Initiative. Sohi said Alberta estimated it would provide $4.2 billion from 2007 to 2024 but is only on track to transfer $3.8 billion.

Sohi is also looking for as much as $185 million to renovate and upgrade Commonwealth Stadium so the facility can host more world-class events.

Smith has recently stated she wants to help Calgary build a new arena and events centre where the Calgary Flames would play, although she has not said how much the province would pay towards the project, if any.

"They are really interested in helping Calgary for their arena. We did not get direct support from the province for our downtown arena other than the Community Revitalization Levy," Sohi said.

"What I am saying is, there are amenities in Edmonton that can be upgraded and refurbished that will allow us to attract international activities and events, such as FIFA and others. I think these are very important investments that we want to make in partnership with the provincial government."

Sohi also asked the province for help to expand Edmonton's LRT system and to match any money that Alberta spends upgrading Deerfoot Trail in Calgary.

In a year-end interview with CTV News Edmonton, Smith indicated that she plans to focus on Calgary because Edmonton is already "a bit ahead."

"We just have to make sure that we can close some of the gaps. But I'm absolutely open to hearing if there are any pressures in both of our cities," the premier said.

A pair of political scientists said it's likely Smith will favour Calgary because she desperately needs votes in that city to win a spring election.

In November, Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services Jeremy Nixon said he was working on long-term solutions to help homeless people in Edmonton.

A date for the release of Alberta's budget has not been announced.

Sohi's specific requests for provincial money:

  • Hydrogen buses – portion of $840 million cost
  • MSI top up – $400 million
  • Commonwealth Stadium renovation – up to $185 million
  • Transit garages – $181 million
  • Business revitalization – $100 million
  • Innovation Fund – $100 million
  • Clean energy buildings – $100 million
  • Clean Energy Improvement Program – $100 million
  • Climate adaption – $40 million
  • Bridge housing – $18 million
  • Property tax top up – $14 million
  • Explore Edmonton – $12.5 million

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson Top Stories

Stay Connected