Quebec City Announces Plans To Begin Construction On NHL-Ready Arena
Quebec City has announced that it will "begin construction within several months on a new NHL-style hockey arena -- with or without any involvement from Ottawa or private industry," according to the CP. Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume and Quebec Premier Jean Charest Thursday said that the project "will proceed with a 50-50 funding arrangement between the province and city." Labeaume added that he "planned to discuss the matter immediately with NHL bosses." Charest said that the province "will increase its funding commitment and is now ready to pay half the arena cost -- as long as the total price tag doesn't exceed" $400M (all figures Canadian). He added that the "door's always open if the Ottawa or the private sector want to contribute later." Labeaume "repeated several times the city's projected share of the project -- $187 million -- would amount, over the life of its financing, to less" than 1% of the municipal budget. He "promised to get it built without raising municipal tax rates." Labeaume added that the arena "would 'not become a white elephant' because, as a multi-purpose facility, it would attract more non-hockey events to Quebec City." Still, there were "some notable absences at Thursday's news conference: nobody was there from Ottawa, or from Quebecor Inc., the media empire that has been talking about bringing NHL hockey back to Quebec City" (CP, 2/10). The GLOBE & MAIL's Curry & Seguin report "future private revenue from the Quebec City arena will be evenly split between the city and the province." This includes the "commercial naming rights for the building, marketing revenues, and operating rights." Labeaume indicated that "all of this could total several million dollars a year." Labeaume also said that he told NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Thursday that the arena is "going ahead" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/11).