Calgary

Taxpayer-funded arena deal lives on after only 4 Calgary councillors vote for rethink

Coun. Evan Woolley convinced only three fellow councillors that reconsidering the taxpayer-funded portion of the new Calgary Flames arena was the way forward, as a majority voted against it.

10 councillors and mayor vote to let sleeping dogs lie

Coun. Evan Woolley, left, had proposed diverting city money from the proposed new arena, right, to help the Green Line LRT project, which is facing a shortfall in provincial funding. (CBC, City of Calgary)

Coun. Evan Woolley convinced only three fellow councillors that reconsidering the taxpayer-funded portion of the new Calgary Flames arena was the way forward, as a majority voted against it.

After a spirited discussion at Friday's council meeting, it was four councillors (George Chahal, Druh Farrell, Jeromy Farkas and Woolley) against the other 10 councillors and Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who wanted to let sleeping dogs lie.

Woolley had floated the idea of pausing the $290-million taxpayer contribution to the new events centre, diverting funds to the Green Line LRT project.

The arena conversation has resurfaced in budget talks as council grapples with tax increases versus services cuts.

It also comes after a provincial budget that suddenly slashed funding to the Green Line over the next four years by 85 per cent — from $550 million to $75 million. 

Some Calgarians felt the arena deal was pushed through, after the public was given only one week of feedback before council announced in July the deal would proceed.

With files from Drew Anderson

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