The province will look at any request to pony up $100 million for a new arena for the NHL's Edmonton Oilers, but won't subsidize privately owned enterprises, says a spokesman for Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach.
"This isn't a surprise," said Cam Hantiuk. "We knew the city and The Katz Group we're working towards some type of arrangement."
"We're in a situation where we are not saying yes, we are not saying no, because we don't have anything in front of us right now."
City councillors and the Katz Group struck a framework deal Wednesday night to fund a $450 million downtown arena for the Oilers.
The deal would see the city provide $125 million and the Katz Group, which owns the team, pay $100 million; another $125 million would come from a user-pay facility fee with the remaining $100 million coming from the provincial and federal governments.
Late night deal surprised councillors
Five councillors voted against the deal and some were still angry Thursday over how the late night deal went down.
"First of all, I had no idea it was coming," said Coun. Linda Sloan. "It wasn't on the published agenda. It was couched under 'Verbal Update — city manager in private session.'"
"We received no report in advance," she said. "I honestly can say in the years I've served in public office I've never felt as manipulated."
Under the deal, the city would own the facility and the land. Oilers' owner Daryl Katz would operate the building and be responsible for all maintenance, upgrades, operating and capital expense costs.
While the premier isn't revealing how he feels about a potential funding request, NDP leader Brian Mason wants the province to say no.
"At a time where we are laying off teachers, and we're unable to meet the demand for health care in our province, it's just the wrong priority," Mason said.