Edmonton Mayor Holding Off Pitching Arena Funding Until Receiving Budget Assurances
Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel said that he is "holding off on pitching new downtown arena funding schemes until learning whether it can be built under budget," according to Michelle Thompson of the EDMONTON SUN. Mandel has repeatedly said that he believes the Oilers arena "can be built for less than" C$450M. But "if it can’t, the city will find itself looking for a way to cover" a C$100M funding shortfall since just C$350M in arena cash has been identified. Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith has recently "called for an Oilers branded lottery to bridge the funding gap." But Tory legislative assembly member Thomas Lukaszuk said that Alberta is "not about to set up a new lottery for the cause." Meanwhile, the Edmonton City Council yesterday heard that "taking on a professional entertainment operator to handle bookings could ... help the facility’s bottom line." A report "describing how other NHL arenas book concerts was discussed" at the council meeting ( EDMONTON SUN, 1/19).
DAY PLANNER: In Edmonton, John MacKinnon noted the city council "has been savvy enough to include a clause in the framework of agreement with the Katz Group that stipulates the city have access to the new arena for up to four weeks a year, at its discretion." City Council member Kim Krushell believes that the "imperative to make maximum use of those days is top of mind with ICON Venue Group, the newly announced project manager for the arena." Krushell said that ICON "wants to build the arena to reflect the uniqueness of Edmonton, its needs and history." The city "has yet to identify a point person, or create an office to program those 28 days." But since the expected opening date of the arena is fall '15, programming those dates "can't be put off too far into the future, depending upon how ambitious the city is about making the most of its arena dates" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 1/19).