A coalition of business groups, universities, downtown residents and others called on Edmonton city council Monday to move ahead on the downtown arena project.
"We want city council, the government of Alberta and the Katz Group to sit down now and get this done," said Simon O’Byrne, an urban planner and spokesperson for the Downtown Vibrancy Coalition.
"This mega project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Allowing this to fail would be an utter travesty."
The group’s news conference comes two days before Edmonton city council votes on whether to proceed despite a $55 million shortfall in funding.
The project is believed to be in trouble since some councillors are having second thoughts, especially since the provincial government has refused to provide any direct funding.
Coun. Bryan Anderson predicts voting will be delayed on Wednesday because he doesn't believe the council will pass the borrowing bylaw until all funding sources are identified.
"I don't think it will pass," he said. "If it doesn't pass, then it can't be brought back again until after the next election."
O'Byrne argues about $3 billion worth of construction in hotels, office towers, shops, and clubs will be constructed in downtown Edmonton if the arena goes ahead.
The Downtown Vibrancy Coalition wants Edmontonians to contact councillors and ask them to vote in favour of moving ahead.