Council urges Katz Group to clear up arena confusion

Edmonton city councillors say they need to hear publicly from the Katz Group on the issues that have stalled the proposed downtown arena.
City says it needs to hear from the Katz Group on the impasse over a downtown arena and is inviting a representative to speak at public council meeting 2:30

Edmonton city councillors say they need to hear publicly from the Katz Group on the issues that have stalled the proposed downtown arena.

"I really do think we need to have the Katz Group make their requests a bit more transparent," said Coun. Kim Krushell.

Council sent a letter to the company Wednesday morning, asking that a representative appear before a public council meeting to explain its position.

The request comes after the Katz Group sent a letter with a list of seven items that need to be negotiated - some of which councillors say were already dealt with.

Adding a casino to the arena is one of the issues causing confusion. The Katz Group is proposing the casino as a way of offsetting the costs of operating the new rink.

Council says the city’s hands are tied because a decision on a casino is up to the provincial government.

Next move up to Katz Group: Krushell

"There's confusion between what the Katz Group thinks what our deal was and what … council and what I think what the deal is," said Mayor Stephen Mandel.

"We need to figure out where those differences occurred."

Council rejected Katz’s request for more money for the project last week.

The city says a deal could still be made, but council needs to know why the new requests are needed.

"They need to show us all of their assumptions and costs because, you know, our staff are running models as best as they can and they don't understand a rationale for this new money," said Coun. Don Iveson.

Despite the impasse, many councillors are still hopeful that a deal can be made that will allow the arena to be built.

"We need to come to some happy medium here," said Krushell. "And what that will be, ultimately, I think is really in the Katz Group’s hands. They really need to come to Council and explain what their ask is."

In an email to CBC News, the Katz Group said it does not know if it will take the invitation to speak in a public meeting.