Arena plan for Saddledome replacement expected soon

Calgarians can expect to see plans for a new home for the Flames in the coming weeks.

Calgary Flames boss to meet with Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who still says taxpayers shouldn't pay for it

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says public money should not be used to subsidize private benefit. (CBC)

Calgarians can expect to see plans for a new home for the Flames in the coming weeks.

Talk of a Saddledome replacement has been around for years, but a meeting scheduled between team president Ken King and the mayor has fans buzzing again.

And Flames CEO Ken King has told local media outlets that a new downtown arena announcement is imminent.

Rumours swirled last year when a computer animation of what appeared be a new arena was leaked to the media.

At the time King denied it was the final plan or even in the running.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says the city's position on helping pay for a new arena hasn't changed — the city will only help pay for projects that feature a public benefit.

“It can't be public dollars to subsidize private benefit. As much as we'd love to have Madonna here, I don't think that you could convince most people that it's a good use of public money to subsidize Madonna.”

Speaking in Red Deer to announce $400 million in new funds for municipalities in the final quarter of the fiscal year, Municipal Affairs Minister Diana McQueen said that money cannot be used to build a new arena for the Flames.

“No, these are, you know, the infrastructure projects that are important to the municipalities — the roads, the waters, the sewers, the bridges, those things. But not the arena,” she said. 

Brian Burke, president of hockey operations for the Flames, has said the Saddledome does not generate the kind of revenue or the kind of marquee concerts — that modern NHL arenas do and therefore needs to be replaced.


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