CALGARY (660 NEWS) — A rough road map for the proposed fieldhouse project in northwest Calgary was approved by a committee at City Hall Monday.
The plan sets the stage for the next year of development, mainly focusing on communications, studies, and public engagement.
This comes after the city approved $20 million in May to proceed with the project, which will redevelop Foothills Athletic Park around McMahon Stadium and boost year-round recreation options in the city.
For Sport Calgary’s Executive Advisor Murray Sigler, this has been a long time coming.
“It’s way overdue. Not just ten years overdue, but more than twenty years overdue. We have a really good chance to go from having nothing, really, to having a state of the art facility that we can be proud of and we can afford to do it,” said Sigler.
“We really believe Calgary has fallen behind all other major cities, and even smaller cities in Canada, in terms of not having the appropriate indoor recreation sport event facility of this ilk.”
The road map also sets up the importance of financial capacity, to ensure the project is properly funded and doesn’t add to any debt.
After budget week wrapped up at City Hall on Friday, Mayor Naheed Nenshi noted on Monday that this project remains crucial even while they grapple with fiscal restraints.
“Even in tough times, we can’t just shrink. We’ve got to keep investing in stuff that has (return on investment). We’ve got to keep investing in stuff for the future,” Nenshi said.
“Having kids be able to play soccer in the winter and do track and field is not a nice to have, it’s actually something that helps the city function…and ultimately, we’re going to make sure the city functions and is a nice place to live.”
City administration could not identify any new risks in their latest report, and apart from the earlier $20 million committed in this early stage, there are no current or future capital budget impacts associated with the report.
However, the actual budget will be determined in future reports when full capital funding is secured.
Sigler agreed that fiscal sustainability needs to be assured, and it has to be achieved through a sustainable budget.
“For sure, and if it can’t be, then it shouldn’t go ahead. It has to meet those tests. The tests are well set and pretty well-established,” said Sigler.
“Only if it makes fiscal sense and only if there’s a clear economic benefit to it.”