No provincial cash for downtown arena, Mar says
Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Gary Mar says Edmonton's downtown arena won't get any provincial money if he becomes the next premier.
"In the scale of priorities for provincial infrastructure, I would say that Albertans would agree that hospitals, schools, long-term care centres, roads, other infrastructure would be a higher priority than an arena in the city of Edmonton," Mar told a CBC editorial board Wednesday.
Under a framework agreement reached last month with project proponent The Katz Group, the city will contribute $125 million to the $450 million project. Another $125 million will come from a ticket tax and The Katz Group will contribute $100 million
The city hopes the Alberta government will kick in the remaining $100 million in funding. But Mar suggested that doing so could set a precedent for other sports teams in Alberta.
"It wouldn't be very long before the city of Calgary would be saying, 'what about us?' That McMahon Stadium might say, 'what about us?' And that the Edmonton Eskimos would say 'what about us?'"
The arena and entertainment complex will replace the aging Rexall Place, which is the current home of the Edmonton Oilers.
Mar, a cabinet minister under former premier Ralph Klein, is among a number of candidates vying to replace Ed Stelmach after he steps down as leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party this fall.
Doug Horner, Alison Redford, Rick Orman, Doug Griffiths and Ted Morton are also in the race.
The first vote takes place Sept. 17. If no one receives more than half the votes that day, a second ballot with the top three candidates will be held Oct. 1.