News Online: Councillors move forward with revised deal for downtown arena

Published online at Edmonton.Ctvnews.ca on Jan. 23, 2013.

CTV Edmonton
Linda Hoang, CTV Edmonton: January 23, 2013

Councillors move forward with revised deal for downtown arena

City councillors voted Wednesday to move forward with a revised deal for the downtown arena project, with construction slated to begin as early as August and completion set for 2016.

All councillors except Linda Sloan, Kerry Diotte and Don Iveson voted in favour of a revised design and negotiated framework, which is expected to cost $601 million in total.

“This has not been an easy road,” Mayor Stephen Mandel said after the vote was made.

He said the new arena is about “more than just a place to play hockey,” and that it is a big part of helping build Edmonton.

After the vote was made, Mandel had a brief phone conversation with Oilers owner Daryl Katz.

Mandel said Katz told him he was “pleased” the negotiations are now behind them and “we can move forward.”

Katz later issued a statement, saying the new agreement “will drive ongoing revitalization of downtown Edmonton.”

“It also helps to ensure the Oilers’ long-term sustainability in Edmonton. This has been a challenging process for all concerned but we are confident we will all look back on the end result with pride and satisfaction at what we have achieved,” Katz said in the statement.

“This is a great day for Edmonton and we are excited to get to work on realizing this incredible opportunity.”

Click here for the city’s official downtown arena and entertainment district page.

A master agreement on the project is expected to go before council in March.

City administration presented three options for the downtown arena and a recommendation to move forward with one of those options, on Wednesday.

The option recommended and voted on by councillors – Option A – is similar to the design agreed upon in the October 2011 framework, which included the winter garden and underground parkade.

It is budgeted at a total cost of $601 million – with the arena itself costing $480-million.

The city would contribute $219 million to the overall cost, while the Katz Group would put in $143 million, a ticket surcharge would cover $125 million, and an additional $114 million would be provided by contributions from the provincial and federal governments.

Options B and C had lower overall costs and fewer amenities – but City Manager Simon Farbrother said the city would be contributing roughly the same amount for each of the options.

“When you look at the value added in terms of year-round access across 104 Avenue we believe Option A is the best design,” Farbrother said.

All of the options had the arena featuring 18,559 seats.

Arena project costs broken down

The $480 million arena cost is $30 million higher than the previous agreed-upon price.

The city and the Katz Group would split the extra cost 50-50, with each group covering an extra $15 million.

The Katz Group’s portion would be added to the $100 million the Oilers owner already promised, which would be paid over the next 35 years, through a lease payment agreement.

Additional costs include a community rink ($21 million), winter garden ($53 million), LRT Connection ($7 million), and pedestrian link ($15M).

Farbrother said the LRT connection cost was decreased from $17 million to $7 million.

The city will also fund a $25 million portion of the winter garden, with the Katz Group covering the rest – the element was originally capped at $50 million.

At Wednesday’s arena update, Farbrother presented the new negotiated framework for the arena project, which included price changes.

“In relation to the numbers we presented to you in New York, we believe the financial arrangement is reasonable,” Farbrother said.

“It realizes the city’s vision in bringing an arena to the downtown core.”

“The way we’re getting there is not right.”

During questioning, Coun. Tony Caterina wondered whether the city would be responsible for coming up with additional funding if other levels of government do not get involved.
Farbrother said the city will request $107 million from the province and $7 million from the federal government – to cover $100 million for the arena and $14 million for the community rink.

He says Mayor Mandel has been “actively” addressing that issue.

Mandel said he is very confident that the city will be able to get the additional funding from the province and federal government.

The missing money was a sticking point for Diotte, who voted against the new negotiated framework.

“This should not have even been proceeding until that money was firmed up,” Diotte said.

While he supports the idea of a downtown arena, Diotte did not believe what was presented on Wednesday was the best approach.

“The way we’re getting there is not right,” he said, insisting the deal is not good for taxpayers and the financial details are still unclear.

“A lot of people run very successful businesses in this city but they don’t get public money to build their factories.”

Mandel reiterated that taxpayers shouldn’t worry.

“This is taking money we already have and finding uses to use it better,” he said.

Coun. Iveson expressed concerns that the arena framework as is works as a subsidy for the

“The entire deal is an indirect subsidy to NHL,” Iveson said, adding that the deal is an “open wound” for Edmonton.

The city also said Wednesday that they require the province’s approval before moving ahead with the Community Revitalization Levy (CRL).

The city’s chief financial officer Lorna Rosen said administration has been in talks with the province to draft the CRL and the next meeting with the province on the CRL is expected in February.

Councillors on Wednesday also questioned the Katz Group on whether they could guarantee they would not return to the city requesting more money, if Wednesday’s framework was approved.

“We think that we can live with this (deal) for 35 years,” Karvellas said, adding Katz has approved of the new framework and summary.

“There is no intention to revisit the deal with the city.”

The mayor reiterated that comment after the vote was made.

“This is 100 per cent. A deal is done,” Mandel said.

Oilers players talk new arena

Members of the Katz Group, and Edmonton Oilers President and CEO Patrick LaForge, along with a number of Oilers team members including Shawn Horcoff, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, were also present at Wednesday’s update.

Before the vote was made, Horcoff and Eberle told media how important the new arena deal was for players and fans.

“We feel it’s an important part of our future as players. We all want to see a deal get down, we all want to see a new arena, I think it’s exciting for the city, it’s exciting for fans,” Horcoff said.

Negotiations for the proposed downtown arena project took a step backwards last fall, when councillors voted to cease negotiations.

In December, councillors voted to resume negotiations with the Katz Group, based on the framework the two parties had agreed upon in October 2011 – but this time a third-party mediator would also be involved and appointed by Jan. 23.

On Wednesday, Farbrother said administration decided not pursue a third-party mediator because it did not end up being needed in order for the two parties to come to an agreement on the new negotiated framework.

Click here to see the report and negotiated framework presented to councillors.

Farbrother noted NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s attendance to a meeting last Friday was not as mediator, but just to address and help the two parties resolve “two or three outstanding issues.”

Construction for the new arena is expected to begin in the late summer or early fall of this year.

The arena is expected to be completed in 2016.

Click here to read the article on the CTV Edmonton website.

Clicks of the Day: Thursday, September 20, 2012 Edition!

Welcome to Thursday, September 20 2012′s Clicks of the Day!

Clicks of the Day is a daily round up of news posted Sunday through Thursday with quantity and quality of content differing depending on how busy Linda’s day is.

    Edmonton/Alberta/Canada

  • Katz Group declines mayor’s invitation to negotiate publicly
  • “Two days after the mayor issued a public statement – inviting the Katz Group to hold public negotiations on the downtown arena project – the company has responded to, and declined, the offer.”

    Ah. Will this never end.

  • Developer doesn’t want teenage neighbours, St. Albert mayor says
  • “Plans to develop land across from Servus Place in St. Albert have been put on hold indefinitely and the developer is now under fire for comments he made about teenagers in the neighbourhood. Conditions on Canterra Development’s plan to build on a vacant field across from Servus Place in the Kingswood neighbourhood included donating 10 per cent of the land to the community. However, now that the city wants to build a high school in that space, St. Albert’s mayor says the developer is refusing to move forward with the plan. Mayor Nolan Crouse says the developer told him on several occasions that “teenagers don’t make good neighbours.””

    Yikes… who says that?!

  • Edmonton boy hurt in Highway 63 crash could have brain damage, paralysis
  • “A seven-year-old Edmonton boy seriously hurt in a crash on Highway 63 is slowly improving but doctors still don’t know if he will fully recover, his parents say.”

    So sad.

  • Bill to offer EI benefits to families with sick children
  • “The federal government is bringing in new rules to help families of gravely ill or injured children. Legislation to be tabled this week called the Helping Families in Need Act will allow parents whose children develop serious diseases such as cancer to collect Employment Insurance benefits for up to 35 weeks. There will also be amendments to the Canada Labour Code to protect the jobs of parents who take leaves of absence to care for critically ill children.”

    Sounds great.

  • Tuition hikes scrapped at first Parti Quebecois cabinet meeting
  • “It’s over — the tuition increase that triggered such social strife in Quebec has been cancelled. The Parti Quebecois government repealed the fee hike, by decree, in its first cabinet meeting Thursday on its first full day in office. Premier Pauline Marois acted on a promise that she had made during the election campaign. She announced the decision at a news conference after the meeting.”

    So the riots will stop…

    World

  • U.S. judge won’t force YouTube to remove anti-Islam film clip
  • “A U.S. judge has denied a request to force YouTube to remove an anti-Islam film trailer that has been blamed for causing deadly protests in the Muslim world. The judge rejected the request from Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress who appears in the clip, in part because the man behind the film was not served with a copy of the lawsuit.”

    Hmm.

  • More charges sought in deadly U.S. theatre shooting
  • “Prosecutors are seeking more charges against the suspect in the U.S. theatre rampage that killed 12 in one of the worst mass shootings in the country’s history, a new court document says.”

    Hmmmm.

    Health

  • Almost a third of Canadian kids are overweight: study
  • “Almost a third of Canadian children are considered either overweight or obese, new figures from Statistics Canada reveal. According to the latest Canadian Health Measures Survey, 31.5 per cent of children aged five to 17 were overweight in 2009 to 2011. That’s an estimated 1.6 million kids.”

    Sad but not surprising!

    Technology/Social Media/Internet

  • Apple: We’re ‘just getting started’ with Maps, be patient
  • “Ever since Apple rolled out iOS 6 on Wednesday, iPhone users have panned the new maps app for being noticeably worse than Google Maps. One even created a new Tumblr curating user-submitted images of mapping fails on the new OS. Now, Trudy Miller, a spokesperson for Apple, has offered the following statement in response to these complaints: We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it. Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get.”

    Lol. Bring back Google Maps! :’(

  • Most parents keep kids calm with mobile devices: study
  • “You do your best to connect with your family, your children, setting aside family-only time in order to connect with your kids. Family dinners work well, but using smartphones and tablets is a rising trend in bonding with, teaching and pacifying young ones, a recent survey shows.”

    Understandably!

  • By 2014, 1 in 10 social media reviews will be fake: study
  • “For most of us, an exceptional number of top-notch online reviews determines which movie, hotel room, car or gadget we will choose over the competition. It’s the same for foodies deciding where to host a celebratory dinner or just looking for a great morning cup of joe. What’s now a huge problem with falsified online restaurant reviews is going to explode over time. By 2014, 10% to 15% of social media reviews will be fake and paid for by companies, according to a new study by tech research company Gartner. Increased customer reliance on amateur reviews exacerbates unmerited ratings.”

    Oh darn. Well just know that MY reviews will be real (and I have a backlog of restaurants I have to still review…)

    Business/Work/Economy/Media

  • Zellers sets mascot Zeddy free as they prepare for liquidation in new video
  • “After being the smiling, fuzzy face of Zellers since 1986, teddy bear mascot “Zeddy” has been set free from his duties of taking pictures with small children at Zellers locations across Canada. The video is part of the Zellers marketing campaign to not just spread the word that they’re going out of business (soon to be replaced by Target locations in many parts of Canada), but that they’re looking for a new home for Zeddy. The company’s Facebook page is hosting a contest to give a charitable organization the chance to be Zeddy’s new home and receive a $5000 donation.”

    Aw poor Zeddy – but also, neat for them to go about this approach as part of their going-out-of-business!

  • Air Canada to hire 900 over next year, 200 more for new low-cost carrier
  • “Air Canada says it will hire about 1,100 employees across a number of fields, including 200 at its new low-cost carrier. The airline said Thursday the jobs are part of its strategy to “seize new commercial opportunities, enhance customer service and renew our workforce.” Air Canada says it will hire approximately 400 flight attendants and some 500 airport customer service agents and baggage handlers.”

    Economy boost~

  • Aging Canada: Dwindling birthrate and aging population to hurt economy says expert
  • “Canada’s aging population, combined with a lacklustre birthrate, is going to dramatically impact our country’s economic performance in the future, according to an expert in the field. Canada is going to prove troublesome within the next 12 years, David Foot, a professor of economics at the University of Toronto and co-author of the book “Boom, Bust & Echo: How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Shift” told the Global Business Forum in Banff, Alta.”

    Oh we’ll see.

  • Canadian creates ‘sexy’ multi-height heel
  • “Tanya Heath is on a double mission: to prove women can wear heels without ruining their feet, and that her answer to their plight, a heel that switches from high to low, can be made entirely in France. The Paris-based Canadian started with a simple idea. When your shoes start to hurt — half way through a party, a wedding or a workday — press a button in the sole, slot out your dressy high heel and replace it with a walking version.”

    Great idea!!

    Environment/Space/Animals/Science

  • “There is no such thing as time”
  • “Julian Barbour’s solution to the problem of time in physics and cosmology is as simply stated as it is radical: there is no such thing as time. “If you try to get your hands on time, it’s always slipping through your fingers,” says Barbour. “People are sure time is there, but they can’t get hold of it. My feeling is that they can’t get hold of it because it isn’t there at all.” ”

    Hmmm.

    Weird News, Other News, Good News & Fluff (Usually cat videos)

  • Sir Richard Branson wants to start colony on Mars
  • “Sir Richard Branson wants to start a colony on Mars. The entrepreneur — who runs the Virgin Galactic program, which is planning to launch space tours of Earth in 2014 — is “determined” to populate the ‘Red Planet’ and thinks it is an achievable dream.”

    Lol.

  • World’s thinnest house gets closer to big opening
  • “Good news for giraffes! Construction has started on a house that’s being called the world’s narrowest. The dwelling — located in a passageway between two buildings in Warsaw, Poland’s Wola district — measures 47 inches at its widest point and 27 inches at its narrowest.”

    Many of my comments today for stories appear to be ‘hmmm’ but I feel like it applies, lol.

  • Asia’s most expensive drink goes for $26,000
  • “Asia’s most expensive drink can be had for a whopping S$32,000 (around US$26,000) at a club for the super rich in Singapore, reported Malaysia’s Bernama news agency Tuesday.”

    What a waste of money!

  • [Photos]: Rich cats of Instagram
  • Loooooove this!!!

  • [Video]: Pig rescues baby goat
  • “A goat at a petting zoo gets it’s foot caught, fortunately for him, a super hero pig comes along to save the day.”

    How amazing!!!!!


Thor (and/or Loki) Photo of the Day:

Thor loves teasing Loki by swinging her tail. Loki always tries to catch it – only succeeds sometimes.


Have your say on some of these Clicks of the Day’s! Leave a comment! Or tweet me!

Linda