Crucial Edmonton arena vote delayed by council

The seemingly endless saga of Edmonton's downtown arena will continue after city council deferred Wednesday a vote proceed despite a financial shortfall of $55 million.

City council holds off on voting on arena project until funding sources are found

Arena vote deferred

9 years ago
Duration 1:46
Concerns over a 55 million dollar funding gap force council to postpone a crucial arena vote

The seemingly endless saga of Edmonton's downtown arena will continue after city council delayed a vote on Wednesday to proceed with the $480 million project.

Councillors instead voted unanimously to defer the matter until city administration returns with a report outlining other ways to make up the $55 million shortfall, instead of proceeding without all the funding sources in place.

"I realize Edmontonians would like this settled," said Mayor Stephen Mandel. "In front of us today is not a solution. We need to come back for this council to vote on something that can be voted 'yes' or 'no.'"

"I also believe it's not going to be something that's going to have Edmontonians pay more," he said. "I think we've paid an awful lot."

Council will vote on a new recommendation from administration "as soon as possible," Mandel said.

Council's next scheduled meeting is May 22.

Coun. Don Iveson praised council for not proceeding with the project until the source of the money can be identified.

He suggested that a reconfiguration of the tax on tickets to cover the shortfall, an amount the city expected to receive from the province.

But Coun. Kerry Diotte said the large majority of people believe the Katz Group must come up with the money.

"I think that's what the citizens of Edmonton want. I think we owe them to do exactly that."

After the meeting, John Karvellas, Katz Group executive vice-president, declined to talk about offering up more money, but told media he's confident the arena deal will go ahead.

The city was hoping that the province would contribute to the project, but Premier Alison Redford has been adamant that her government would not provide direct funding.