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SBD/October 17, 2012/Facilities
Edmonton Arena In Doubt After Oilers Owner Refuses To Meet With City Council
Published October 17, 2012
SEEKING A SOLUTION: Katz, in his letter to Mandel wrote, “Before we can sign a 35-year location agreement and invest more than a quarter-billion dollars into a new arena that the city will own ... we need a solution that makes economic sense.” Katz wrote he believes “with more time and political leadership, this project can still be saved” and his “door is open if city administration want to continue our discussions” (EDMONTON SUN, 10/17).
GOING BACKWARD: In Edmonton, John MacKinnon writes the letter is a “message that reverses whatever softening effect was achieved by Katz’s recent public apology, delivered by way of full-page newspaper ads.” For those Edmontonians "still torn between viewing the local billionaire as either a successful businessman with the vision to do something grand for his city or a rapacious, capitalist shark out to leverage every dollar he can from his fellow citizens in the Heartland of Hockey, well, Katz is making that choice mighty easy.” MacKinnon: “The reality is, Katz is both a passionate Edmontonian and unabashed Oilers fan, and he’s a cold-blooded businessman with his eye fixed on the main chance” (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 10/17). Also in Edmonton, David Staples writes, “I’m convinced if Katz doesn’t reconsider and accept this offer, city council should build a downtown arena on its own.” Just because Pittsburgh and Winnipeg “gave sweet deals to their teams, it doesn’t mean Edmonton should.” The city’s job is “to make sure there’s an excellent downtown arena for concerts and an NHL team, to make sure any public financing of that arena is in the public interest, and to ensure the building is designed well so an entertainment district will grow up around it.” With or without the Katz Group, the city “should move ahead on this project.” If Katz and the Oilers “ever left here, 10 other NHL owners would line up to get into this market, but only if we have a new downtown arena” (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 10/17).