Time running out for current Calgary council to ink deal on new Flames arena, Nenshi says
If no decision made in coming weeks, issue will fall to council elected in Oct. 16 election
If a deal isn't reached on a new arena in Victoria Park in the next few weeks, it might have to wait until after this fall's municipal election, Calgary's mayor says.
City officials are negotiating with the owners of the Calgary Flames and the Stampede board about a replacement for the Saddledome.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi was responding to an observation recently made by city manager Jeff Fielding.
"He was simply suggesting that if we are not in a position where there is really something to share with the public on any public financing for a new arena in the next six to eight weeks, it's going to be hard to do it before the election," Nenshi said.
"It is true that this council stops in September, and then would not be in a position to be in a decision-making meeting until November. So at that point, if you're a brand new council and it's your first meeting, it's hard for me to imagine that they'd want to deal with that at their first meeting."
Last month, city council voted unanimously in favour of the so-called Plan B scenario that would see a new NHL arena built just north of the Saddledome in Victoria Park.
Ken King, president of Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC), which owns the Calgary Flames and Calgary Stampeders, has been pushing a more elaborate plan — dubbed CalgaryNext — to build a new arena combined with a public fieldhouse and a new CFL stadium in the West Village.
In the next two months, city council could have three major spending decisions to make — a possible new arena, the Green Line LRT project and whether to bid on the 2026 winter Olympics.
The Calgary municipal election will be held on Oct. 16.
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