Edmonton

Edmonton council to borrow $32 million to fill Rogers Place funding gap

With Rogers Place just months away from its grand opening, the sliver of hope that the province would step in and cover the $32-million hole in the budget is gone, and it’s time for the city to eat the cost.

City to borrow $32 million, which will be paid back from the downtown community revitalisation levy

As of June 9th, Rogers Place construction is on time and on budget. (Laura Osman/ CBC News)

With Rogers Place just months away from its grand opening, the sliver of hope that the province would step in and cover the $32-million hole in the budget is gone.

It appears it is now time for the city to eat the cost.

City council had hoped since 2013, when the arena was first approved, that the province would eventually come up with the missing funds. Since then, the province has had four premiers, and each has said "no."

On Tuesday, council will vote on a bylaw to borrow an additional $31.5 million to fund the project, which will be paid back from the downtown community revitalization levy (CRL).

The levy is collected from a portion of downtown property taxes, which will be used to pay for certain projects in the core.

The missing millions include $25 million for the arena itself and $7 million for the community rink.

Last month, the total cost of the arena went up by $3 million. Jodi Tauber, communications advisor for the city, said the extra costs were related to design changes to improve the connections between the arena and other buildings in the arena district.

ICE District Joint Venture and the Edmonton Arena Corporation, both owned by the Katz Group, have paid those additional costs.

McEwan University also contributed an extra $1.5 million to the community arena for changes it requested, such as exclusive change rooms and storage space. McEwan will pay as part of the lease and licence agreements that are being negotiated with the city. 

Tauber said the project is expected to open on time in early September. 

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