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Economist on CalgaryNEXT: $1 in could mean $1.20 out

Last Updated Sep 9, 2015 at 11:43 pm MDT

Leaked photo of drawing concept of CalgaryNEXT arena, fieldhouse and entertainment complex. Courtesy @IgnitedAndroid on Twitter

A high-ranking official for a Canadian economic think tank is laying out how CalgaryNEXT could be approved with the contribution of taxpayer money.

Glen Hodgson, Senior VP and Chief Economist with the Conference Board of Canada, said while research suggests new sports facilities don’t create a net benefit to a local economy, they could be seen as public goods and serve a broader interest.

Hodgson told Sportsnet 960/The Fan the proposal has some good things going for it, such as a probable short-term gain with construction and the low cost of building.

“For infrastructure development, which stands to use local labour and local supplies, there are very few imports coming in, with really good multipliers. You put in a one dollar, you tend to get back $1.15 to $1.20 in benefits. So in the short-term there is kind of an net contribution to the Calgary economy,” Hodgson said.

Details for much of the project have yet to be laid out, including the environmental remediation of the area which is still contaminated from a former building site.