Calgary has a Flames arena plan, but it can’t tell you what it is or it’ll have to kill you

The city of Calgary’s “event centre committee” says it has agreed to a term sheet for proposing a new Calgary Flames arena development, under which the city will pay … something, but they’re not saying until the full council votes on it, and maybe until the Flames owners agree to it as well:

Details of the proposal, which would include a cash contribution from the city, according to [Councillor Jeff] Davison, won’t be made public until a tentative agreement is finalized. “This is a negotiation with a partner, and so there’s third-party involvement that is (subject) to confidentiality,” he said.

C’mon, Jeff, won’t you give us at least a hint?

Davison said a source of funding for the city portion has been identified and it won’t impact the property tax rate.

Okay, so it’s not a property tax hike. The money has to come from somewhere, though, and since Davison mentioned property taxes, it’d probably be from kicking back new property taxes from the development — i.e., a TIF in U.S. terms, a CRL in Canada — which would mean less money would be left over to pay for the public services the development would need, which actually might mean a property tax hike to cover the shortfall, but I guess that’s something the public is supposed to debate after it’s all over but the shouting.

Speaking of public shouting, Councillor Jeromy Farkas is holding a town hall meeting today about the proposed arena, which has pro-arena councillors outraged because why talk about something that they’re keeping a secret until it’s too late to talk about?

Councillors Davison and Ward Sutherland both questioned why Farkas is holding the event before details of the proposed arena deal are public.

Sutherland said he was disappointed to hear that nobody from CMLC or the event centre committee was invited to Farkas’ town hall. He said he’s concerned that the project is being narrowly discussed in the media and by some councillors as just an arena, rather than as an event centre within a larger entertainment district.

“I’m not sure what kind of accurate information they’re going to get,” Sutherland said. “I’m a little bit concerned that it might be another Olympic thing where misinformation gets out, so we’ll only choose what information you get to hear or not — I hope that’s not the case.”

Complaining that the public is being misinformed because you yourself are refusing to release information — I think we have a strong candidate for a new definition of chutzpah!


Share this post: