CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Things appear to be proceeding, albeit behind closed doors, towards a new arena for the Calgary Flames.
Calgary’s Events Centre Assessment Committee met at City Hall on Wednesday and came up with a “terms sheet” that council will vote on outlining the city’s proposal for a new facility.
Nothing is being released yet in terms of figures but the committee has revealed it has identified a funding source.
“We’ve previously had council endorse the work plan moving forward and obviously the next step for the committee was to establish a term sheet. We’ve now got a term sheet in draft that we are now prepared to move to forward to council on Monday. In addition to that we have identified a source of funding that would have the city’s contribution in terms of a facility be met,” said committee chair Jeff Davison.
Davison says once a “term-sheet” is approved by council thinks could move very quickly in terms of getting it in front of the Calgary Flames.
He warned this will not happen overnight and there will be a lot of documentation that has to take place before they can move forward to the next step.
“If council approves the draft term sheet that we have before them and endorses that as the principles and really what you would argue as the fundamentals behind the negotiation, I think you would see that conversation start quickly with the Calgary Flames,” he said.
The ward 6 councillor wasn’t specific in terms of where the money would be coming from but maintained the city’s long-held position that there would not be public dollars spent without public benefit.
A long-time proponent of an events centre in Victoria Park, he says the Flames asked the city for two things: one what would the region look like and what would terms of the deal look like for the team.
“Council has not had eyes on this, this is at committee level right now and we want to make sure that council has the information first and foremost and they are not getting it second-hand through anything and ultimately this is a negotiation with a partner so there is third-party involvement and it’s privy to confidentiality,” said Davison.
He says taxpayers may not see those final figures until there is an agreement in place or no agreement and one of the parties decides to show their cards.
“What we’ve really established moving forward in a deal like this is it’s really about the vision, we’re not talking about a single-use hockey facility. It’s really about the whole vision of building the entertainment and arts cultural district,” he said.
Calgary Municipal Land Corporation has been helping to lead negotiations as the city looks to re-develop Victoria Park.
President Michael Brown told committee members there would be an economic benefit to the city.
“What we found with the events centre and similar to the others [Arts Commons and the BMO Expansion], with every dollar you put in, you’re going to get better in terms of return,” said Brown. “It didn’t include what I call fall out investment, hotels, residential, but we felt as a community at least if we spend a dollar, we’re going to see that dollar back.”
Brown says they could move ahead in re-developing the city’s Rivers District but if they were to do that, they face a risk of doing that with empty parking lots.
He adds they will not be successful if they are unable to attract private investment and without the events centre there could be a delay of decades in terms of the build out.
“There is nothing within VIctoria Park, there is a few little gems, but nothing that is going to keep you down there,” he said. “If you go to a Flames game, or a concert, often times you go and you leave. You need an anchor tenant.”