SBD/September 21, 2012/Facilities

Katz Group Rejects Mayor's Offer To Discuss Oilers Arena Issues Before City Council

The Katz Group and the Edmonton City Council have "outstanding issues"
The Katz Group Thursday said that it “won’t meet" with the Edmonton City Council to "discuss the downtown arena, at least not yet,” according to Elise Stolte of the EDMONTON JOURNAL. The comments came in a letter posted to the Oilers' website responding to Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel’s “invitation to appear before council to discuss the project.” Katz Group Exec VP & General Counsel John Karvellas wrote in the letter, “While we appreciate the mayor’s invitation, we do not think such a meeting can be productive until we have reduced the outstanding issues.” Mandel, who “took a positive view” of the statement, said, “Once and for all we’ll get this finalized.” Mandel suggested that the sides “could meet at a council meeting next week or the following one on Oct. 10” (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 9/21). Mandel said, “I think the public are really getting tired of this. I’m getting tired of it. I’m sure the Katz Group are, too.” Mandel: “Let’s see if they can put pressure on themselves to make a deal, and whatever the differences are, see how they can close the gap” (CP, 9/20). Mandel said that city residents “should know the fate of the arena within a couple weeks.” He said, “Maybe, quicker than that. It’s not going to be uncertain for much longer” (EDMONTON SUN, 9/21).

: Mandel said that Edmonton “needs an outdoor facility that can handle 10,000 fans for soccer, amateur football and small concerts.” The EDMONTON JOURNAL's Stolte in a separate piece notes Mandel “kick-started that process by submitting a formal inquiry to city administrators requesting information on what the city could do to help.” The NASL FC Edmonton have been “playing at Clarke Park all summer with just 1,300 permanent seats.” The team owners “tried to add 3,000 additional seats this summer, but first got stymied by a late snow fall and then ran into building code issues with the city” (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 9/21).
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