When last we checked in on the Edmonton Oilers arena situation, the city council had just given a firm middle finger to team owner Daryl Katz, calling a halt to negotiations because Katz was refusing even to say how much public money he was asking for, or for what. Ccouncillor Kerry Diotte all but slammed the door in Katz’s face, asking, “How can we even consider giving any tax money to a billionaire team owner when we haven’t seen detailed financials?” and saying the city should tell Katz to “get lost.” Oh, and on top of this Katz was in hot water for possibly illegal campaign donations to local government officials.
But you know what they say about time healing all wounds, and yesterday the council voted to resume talks with Katz. Why?
The motion — which was opposed by councillors Linda Sloan and Kerry Diotte — came after Katz Group executive vice-president John Karvellas told councillors he wants them to authorize administration to restart negotiations.
“We do not want the downtown arena project to die,” he said.
Oh, well in that case.
Katz did make one concession yesterday, withdrawing his last-minute demand for $6 million a year in operating subsidies that helped spark the tiff with the council, though no word on all the other goodies he was trying to lard up his demands with. Plus he’s now asking for a new city-subsidized fund to “maintain, repair improve and enhance the arena and its operations,” according to the CBC.
The two sides now get to hire a mediator who will in turn hire a financial analyst to examine the economic costs of the project — it’s going to be fun seeing who they can agree on, given the massive rift between the kind of economic-impact-report-for-hire shills that often take on these jobs and the actual economists who generally come to less flattering conclusions. Plus they get a new deadline — April 30 now — to replace the old October 17 one, because what fun is a drop-dead date if you have to go and drop dead after it? How long can this go on? Forever and ever and…