Markham's Proposed NHL Arena Project Losing Support As Council Members Oppose Funding
The city of Markham's plan for a C$325M NHL arena "faces trouble after Deputy Mayor Jack Heath joined a growing number of councillors opposing the project's funding formula," according to the TORONTO STAR. Heath, who has "backed the project since its inception more than two years ago, stunned the city on Thursday by announcing council should cancel the arena's current 'financial framework' and not provide any public funding." The plan proposes Markham borrow C$325M, with "a private sector partner paying back half the amount over 20 years." The city would "raise the other half through development fees on builders and ticket surcharges on arena guests." However, it now "appears a majority of the 13-member council opposes the 20,000-seat arena in the city's new downtown ... without significant change in the funding formula." That is in "stark contrast to last April when council voted 11-2 for the financial framework." Heath said that the city's development services committee "will discuss the project's site plan next week where he will push for removal of some provisions with ties to the financial framework." He added that he "initially supported the project because of the impression it would attract an NHL team, but there is no indication a franchise will come" (TORONTO STAR, 11/1).