CALGARY – The Calgary Flames ownership group said it is not giving up on the CalgaryNEXT Project and will listen to other options.
“I think it would be terribly hypocritical for us not to do that with an open mind because we have asked everyone to have an open mind about our project so we are going to have an equally open mind,” Ken King, CEO of The Calgary Sports and Entertainment Group, said.
The organization owns the NHL Flames, CFL Stampeders , the WHL Hitmen and the Roughnecks of the National Lacrosse League.
Majority of Calgarians think the Calgary Flames should pay up for CalgaryNEXT
Ken King breaks down the financial details of CalgaryNEXT
King said Thursday he will attend a Calgary city council meeting next Monday to listen to councillors debate the issue.
King also said his organization will provide a written response to the City’s report evaluating the CalgaryNEXT Project by June, and work with the City Administration to explore other options.
The cost of CalgaryNext, a new arena and sports complex proposed for Calgary last August, has almost doubled to $1.8 billion and been deemed “not feasible” according to a city report released Wednesday.
“Administration has come to the conclusion that CalgaryNEXT is not feasible in its present form or location,” reads the executive summary of the report.
“It is recommended that CSEC be given an opportunity to respond to this report and that the City and CSEC work together to investigate potential locations on or near Stampede Park for an innovative new arena/event centre that benefits Calgarians.”
“It is also recommended that Council reconfirm the Foothills Athletic Park as the preferred location for The City of Calgary fieldhouse project, and that work continue with respect to addressing the contamination issues in West Village.”
WATCH: A new study suggests the estimated cost of CalgaryNext has almost doubled to $1.8 billion. Doug Vaessen has details and reaction from local stakeholders
Mayor Naheed Nenshi highlighted what he called “significant challenges” with the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation’s (CSEC) current proposal made evident by the report.
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The original $890-million plan called for the project to be funded through a $250-million ticket tax, a $240-million community levy, $200 million from team ownership and $200 million from city taxpayers for the fieldhouse. But that didn’t include the still-unknown cost of decontaminating the site, which was a creosote wood-treatment plant until the 1960s.
Besides the change to the overall cost, Nenshi pointed out the updated cost to taxpayers is now pegged at just over $1 billion. Other challenges he highlighted included that the timeline for environmental remediation could take up until 2026 and must be finished prior to development, as well as the report’s finding that the expected revenue from a Community Revitalization Levy would be at the lower end of the estimated range of $345 to $435 million over 20 years.
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“I’ve always said: public money must be used for public benefit and Council will have a robust discussion about this on Monday,” Nenshi said in a statement. “City administration has also identified a potential alternative for council’s consideration that may accomplish the same objectives, but at a lower cost.”
Nenshi said city council will make decisions on recommendations from the report next Monday, April 25.