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Gondek not sure arena deal worth it as city puts up more money

Last Updated Jul 27, 2021 at 9:46 am MDT

(CREDIT: @JeffDavisonYYC on Twitter)

CALGARY – With $12.5 million more of your taxpayer dollars going to Calgary’s new arena, at least one city councillor says the new deal might not be worth it.

Ward 3 Councillor Jyoti Gondek told 660 NEWS that she isn’t buying that there won’t be more cost overruns.

“Some of my colleagues will say, ‘This new deal means we don’t pay for cost overruns,'” she said.

“Well, that’s not a benefit to us. The old deal said we weren’t going to pay for cost overruns over a specific amount.”

READ MORE: Calgary putting up more cash for new arena, city to release confidential materials

Gondek adds that the new arena deal is convoluted and hard to follow at some points.

“This so-called new deal takes advantage of what was in the old one and then layers in some other things that are hard to get to,” Gondek explained.

“They’re buried, and you kind of have to play this ‘Where’s Waldo’ game of figuring out what’s new and what it’s going to cost.”

The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation will no longer be the project manager, a new one will be voted on before the meeting comes to an official close this week.

Gondek says we lost a trusted development partner, losing the public benefits and the vision for the district.

She reiterates, “This is not the original idea.”

“We have just watched over the last three or four months this deal come before us,” Gondek added.

“We voted on a reconsideration already in June, I have a feeling we’re going to have to vote on a new reconsideration this week, because this is a different deal than what we had.”

In total, $287.5 million of public money will be used to fund the new Flames arena.

On Monday, Mayor Naheed Nenshi and several other councillors said they believe this is a good investment.

Shovels were supposed to be in the ground this year, but construction on the new arena is postponed until 2022.