City paying to build parking lot on private land for Calgary Stampede
But due to confidential nature of the deal, city refuses to say how much it will cost taxpayers
The City of Calgary is building a new 1,000-stall parking lot in Victoria Park on private land for the Calgary Stampede — but won't say how much it will cost taxpayers.
The Stampede is losing two large parking lots in advance of the new arena as a part of the city's arena deal with the owners of the Calgary Flames.
As a part of that deal, the city agreed to pay the cost of getting a development permit and doing the work on the land, which is owned by Remington Development Corporation.
Work is already underway on the site located on 11th Avenue S.E. between Olympic Way and Sixth Street S.E.
Remington is letting the Stampede use the land for free, but the agreement requires the city to get the development permit and build the lot.
A spokesperson with the city wouldn't say how much the lot will cost taxpayers because of the confidential nature of the deal.
Councillor says he wasn't aware of the arrangement
Coun. Evan Woolley, who voted against the arena deal, said he hadn't been made aware to the details of the arrangement.
"I think the difficulty that I'm having — and again this ends up being a microcosm of the larger arena deal — which is a lack of transparency with the use of public money," he said.
"The information not being available, for something that is completely unnecessary, and it's really disappointing."
Woolley said it made "no sense" to him why the city of Calgary would be the applicant and the builder of a parking lot on private lands, especially given that the revenue generated would benefit the Stampede.
"I think this speaks to a frustration that Calgarians have around this arena deal, which is, when you're using public money, we need to be very transparent with Calgarians about how that money is being spent," Woolley said.
Sutherland says details remain confidential
Coun. Ward Sutherland said the parking lot needed to be expanded given construction surrounding the BMO Centre and other projects.
"This is part of the agreement, that Remington is kindly giving that land, because the Stampede is losing parking area," he said.
Sutherland said the dollar figure surrounding the development couldn't be disclosed between the agreement is private.
"When you concern transactions, it's no different than land transactions or anything like that. There's parties that are involved," he said.
"It gets a little complicated, simply because when we're looking at this whole district, it involves multiple parties — it involves CMLC, it involves the city of Calgary, it involves the Stampede, it involves the Flames."
Sutherland said in his view, the overall deal is expected to return a profit.
"The risk factor is basically zero for the taxpayer," he said.
The parking lot will remain in place for at least seven years.
Under the terms of the arena deal, construction is supposed to start this summer. It's unclear at this time if that will happen as expected due to the wrangling over the arena.
With files from Scott Dippel