Edmonton Mayor Challenges Oilers Owner Katz On New Arena Negotiations
Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel said that Oilers Owner Daryl Katz “now has no choice but to come before council and publicly state exactly what he wants from the city and taxpayers to move ahead on a downtown arena deal that seems to be falling apart,” according to a front-page piece by Elise Stolte of the EDMONTON JOURNAL. Mandel said of the negotiations, “I think that Mr. Katz’s memory of the history is different than mine. I think council has been incredibly responsive, but I no longer can define what Mr. Katz is asking for or what he’s not asking for.” Council member Tony Caterina said that the Katz company’s “new demands aren’t just for more capital dollars and an ongoing [C$6M] subsidy for the proposed arena.” Caterina: “They don’t want to pay taxes. They want help now in operating the arena. … If everybody knew exactly what these new positions were, I think everyone would have seen it as council saw it, which is very unreasonable.” He added that the request not to pay taxes "is a non-starter.” Katz on Monday “made an impassioned appeal to close the deal with city council as soon as possible.” The Oilers owner yesterday “echoed those remarks” on the radio program “Oilers Now,” saying that the city “committed to ‘help facilitate’ an arrangement with the province for casino gaming revenue that would help him cover the operational costs of the arena” (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 9/19). City of Edmonton Manager of Corporate Properties Rick Daviss said that officials “will return to the city with a detailed design for the project at the maximum price by early 2013.” In Edmonton, Angelique Rodrigues notes the Oilers’ current lease at Rexall Place "expires in 2014” (EDMONTON SUN, 9/19).
LET'S DO THE DEAL: In Edmonton, Terry Jones writes, “The problem here isn't a populace which doesn't want an iconic state-of-the-art downtown arena to keep the Oilers in Edmonton for the next 35 years,” nor is it Mandel, “a mayor who recognizes three decades of a city allowing itself to lose the vision to be a great city. He’s a builder.” The problem is that “they're not on the same page or speaking the same language.” Jones writes it is a deal that "HAS to get done." It is "too far down the road to turn back even if Edmonton wanted to, which it clearly doesn't” (EDMONTON SUN, 9/19).