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Calgary experiencing buyers remorse with arena and fieldhouse: sports economist

Last Updated Nov 5, 2019 at 10:55 am MST

An artist rendition of the Calgary fieldhouse (Credit - Calgary Multisport Fieldhouse Society/CityNews)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – As the City of Calgary looks for places to save money, it’s stuck with burdensome commitments to massive projects.

That’s according to one sports economist when it comes to two major projects: The Calgary Fieldhouse and a new arena for the Flames.

Moshe Lander is with Concordia University and has always been a vocal critic of spending public money on private enterprises.

He argues while no private company would ever invest in something like the Green Line LRT, there would be suitors for projects like the Flames arena or a fieldhouse.

WATCH: Frustrations over lack of Calgary fieldhouse continue

He adds the same theory applies to other services.

“That’s what we recognize, that we’re not going to get an economic benefit directly on firefighters and police officers. But we accept that we’re willing to put tax dollars for that because nobody else would step forward to do that.”

Lander notes while the city does have two budgets, a capital project budget and an operating budget, they do have an impact on each other.

He argues the municipal government’s role is to fund projects that are in the public good but may not make money like the Green Line.

“That’s the type of thing that the City has to say ‘for the greater good of the city we need to provide this because no private developer would step forward with a compelling economic case.'”

READ MORE: Provincial bill casts further doubt on Green Line LRT

City council will discuss money-saving measures this week which could include wage cuts to city employees and changes to the LRT project.

Lander believes there are better ways to save money.

“If you are going to cut, you should be cutting from the things that deliver the least economic benefit and the things that are least likely to be created by private business. Near the top at that list should be something like the fieldhouse and the arena.”