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Calgary city councillor to vote no on arena deal

Last Updated Jul 29, 2019 at 6:19 am MDT

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — Calgary city Councillor Jeromy Farkas will be voting no to the new arena deal when it comes before council on Tuesday.

He is the first to come out on record saying he will oppose the agreement which he says is being rammed through.

The Ward 11 Councillor says Calgary has more important financial priorities right now.

“I love the Flames but not this deal,” he stated. “This is the Olympics all over again.”

While he says it is perhaps the best deal you’re going to see between City Hall and the Flames ownership, it still doesn’t mean it’s the best deal for Calgarians at the moment and in this present economic climate.

“Between the closed-door meetings, the rushed timelines, and broken promises to consult, this is a lack of leadership by council to listen to citizens,” he commented. “I just don’t think the timing is right, especially considering the economics of our city and the tax shift crisis.”

He says Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Ottawa all built arenas without as much reliance on public money.

Farkas says he can’t support an arena deal at the same time council is cutting essential services, inflicting crushing taxes on small businesses, and nickel and diming residential homeowners.

READ MORE: Calgary Councillor wants engagement period on new arena extended

He asks how we can invest in an arena when Calgary is in a fiscal crisis? He says he would rather invest in facilities that are truly public.

Farkas dismisses suggestions from some that he is just on a soapbox for a mayoral bid, calling that a cynical point of view. He says his position on the arena is based in principle and is consistent with many if not all, the positions he’s taken in his time as Councillor.

Calgarians can send in their input to the city until the end of business on Monday. The deal goes before council for a vote at one o’clock on Tuesday.