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Calgarians split on new arena deal: survey

Last Updated Jul 29, 2019 at 10:04 am MDT

(CREDIT: @JeffDavisonYYC on Twitter)

The survey asked how Calgarians feel about the arena deal and the thought of replacing the Saddledome

Respondents also weighed in on how they feel city council is doing overall.

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – It appears Calgarians are divided on the deal for a new arena and events centre.

That’s according to a survey released Monday by Think HQ, which gauged public opinion on the deal and how city council is handling it.

When asked if they agree with the notion of replacing the Saddledome, 58 per cent of respondents agreed it was a good idea.

When it comes to the deal being voted on by council this week, 47 per cent approve of the project while 47 per cent don’t approve.

“There is a lot of goodwill in Calgary toward the Flames,” said Marc Henry with Think HQ. “People are proud of the team, they recognize their contribution to the city both in terms of economic impact and community good, and there is support for replacing the Saddledome. But the current proposed deal between the City and CSEC splits voters right down the middle.”


While there’s mixed reaction to the price tag and the city splitting the cost 50/50 with the Flames, the majority of survey responders were supportive of some elements of the deal.

About 82 per cent were pleased that the deal will keep the Flames in Calgary for the next 35 years.

Respondents also liked the idea of the Flames contributing $75 million to local amateur sport and the City claiming a portion of its contribution through a “ticket tax.”

However, those who took the survey said they were unhappy with the short amount of time given for public feedback. Around 60 per cent said one week isn’t enough time to engage with citizens about the deal, while 35 per cent felt the time was appropriate.

“City Hall air traffic control has this issue land in front of Council right when they can least afford it both financially and politically,” said Henry.

READ MORE: Approval for Mayor Nenshi continues to drop: poll

Meanwhile, the arena deal comes at a time when approval for City Council is at a new low. Roughly 69 per cent of Calgarians now disapprove of City Council while 59 per cent disapprove of Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

“Public confidence in council is staggeringly low right now, and if a quick approval leaves voters feeling unheard by their elected officials on a big project like this, watch out,” said Henry. “There isn’t an incumbent on council who shouldn’t be nervous, and the municipal election is only 812 days away.”