Keeping Coliseum 'unlikely' as council considers next steps for developing site

While the future of the Coliseum site remains unclear, the city’s executive committee recommended on Thursday that council reach an agreement with the Edmonton Oilers Group regarding the permanent closure of the building.

Executive committee recommends striking deal for permanent closure

An agreement between the city and the Oilers Entertainment Group prevents the city or a private group from using the building for sports or entertainment. (Rick Bremness/CBC)

While the future of the Coliseum site remains unclear, the city's executive committee recommended Thursday that council finalize an agreement with the Edmonton Oilers Group regarding the permanent closure of the building. 

As long as the building remains officially closed, the city will be off the hook for a $17-million sponsorship deal negotiated with the Oilers group, as part of a memorandum of understanding reached in 2016.

The recommendation will be put before city council next week. 

Coun. Tim Cartmell said permanent closure doesn't automatically mean the coliseum will be demolished, but re-purposing the building would be "unlikely."

"It's not ever going to be a place where people gather in seats for entertainment or sport, period," said Cartmell. "It then becomes a concrete round shell that becomes very expensive to turn into anything else."

A report released last week and presented Thursday to executive committee recommends taking a year to hold consultations to come up with a concept for the future of the coliseum site.

Other outstanding issues include the cost of demolishing the coliseum and the transition that will bring the Northlands exhibition grounds under the city's control. Those issues would also be worked out during that time frame.