Edmonton arena bleeding support on council

The city's new plan to overcome a $100 million shortfall is too much to swallow for two councillors and a growing number of Edmontonians.

Arena bleeding support

9 years ago
Duration 2:21
A growing number of councillors are disenchanted with how the arena is being funded

The city's new plan to overcome a $100 million shortfall is too much to swallow for two councillors and a growing number of Edmontonians.

Ben Henderson and Tony Caterina have supported the project until Thursday, but the new agreement changed everything, said Caterina.

"They seem to change their mind on what they've agreed to previously — so very disappointing."

The old framework agreement hinged on the province contributing $100 million, but the province remains steadfast in its refusal to significantly boost funding for infrastructure projects such as the arena.

However, in the last budget the province bumped up Edmonton's share of an annual grant for such projects by $3 million. 

City administrators recommended the city borrow against that money over the next 20 years, in effect raising $45 million towards the shortfall.

But Caterina calls the strategy risky becuase the Muncipal Sustainability Initiative is only guaranteed for three years. 

"We don't even know if the province will give us $3 million next year, $1 million, zero — we have no assurance on that so a huge risk."

He worries the city will ultimately be on the hook for the full amount.

Other councillors worried the money would be better spent on infrastructure crucial to the city's well-being from improved drainage, transit service and  potholes.