Edmonton still trying to raid every available fund to cobble together Oilers arena subsidy

Give Edmonton elected officials credit: They’re not giving up on finding ways to shovel more arena money at Oilers owner Daryl Katz just because the province of Alberta won’t give them any and because it’s a pretty terrible idea. The latest plan: Get the neighboring communities on the Capital Region Board to ask the province to kick in $25 million from its Regional Collaboration Program, which is supposed to be used for capacity-building programs for local governments, but hey, potato, potahto, right?

Alberta Minister of Municipal Affairs Doug Griffiths responded (in the CBC’s paraphrase) that “he is glad to see the region working together to support the arena project, however, he added it could be months before the province makes a decision on the matter.” If Alberta does approve this money, after adding in $45 million from the city’s Municipal Sustainability Initiative fund it would only leave Edmonton $30 million short on its $100 million arena funding gap … or $44 million short if it’s really a $114 million funding gap … or more than that short if it’s true that Katz isn’t really putting in as much money as he claims he is. The CBC reports that Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel “said he has some ideas where the city will make up the cash, but would not yet give any details.” Can’t hardly wait!

5 comments on “Edmonton still trying to raid every available fund to cobble together Oilers arena subsidy

  1. This saga becomes increasing embarrassing each day. It would be interesting if Calgary was going through a similar process at the same time; their mayor has repeatedly said no public funds, although Edmonton’s mayor began this saga with the same tune.

    Neil – From what I’ve read, it will be the city borrowing the ~$600 million for the entire project and it’s unclear whether they’ve actually taken the required interest payments into account. I think this is going to be a disaster that won’t get sorted out for years.

  2. Chris: From my own dealings with City Administration, those that are involved with the project are fully aware of the interest and don’t (or have possibly been instructed) to not discuss it in public.
    As to whether or not City Council is taking in Interest payments into account when discussing the project costs, I’ve noticed over the last few weeks that whenever individual amounts are discussed in public (like the $45m loan or the ticket tax) by Councillors like Sohi or Krushell, the interest is always included. However, whenever the $605m total (and climbing) project cost is discussed, the interest is nowhere to be found. From that, it’s hard _not_ to come to the conclusion that we’re involved in a game of three-card monte.

  3. As a sitting member of NFL-OPEC (NFL Owners Public Extortion Committee), I just want to say I admire how the Oilers have the pols in Edmonton dancing like marionettes to their tune. I feel ya, NHL brothers! Don’t hesitate to call for advice if the going gets rough. We know all the tricks to make the public cough up.

  4. Desperate times calls for desperate measures. Or is it beyond that now? It’s just sad to see how desperate city elected officials in Edmonton are to find money or any funds for the shortfall amount of the Oilers new arena. How steep low will these elected officials go to get the money to pay for the shortfall for the new arena?

  5. Daniel:

    I think you know the answer to that… and the pit they will happily leap into has no bottom.

    This group does not work for the taxpayers who pay their salaries. They act in the interest of Mr. Katz alone. And he moved to Vancouver two years ago. Strange world.

    Anyone else find it funny that Katz happily paid $200m to buy a franchise forbes valued around $160m, but now has a case of the shorts?