The Calgary city council is back at work debating a Flames arena plan today, and because it’s a closed-door meeting with no details to be revealed until the deal is done, we don’t even have streaming video to stare at in increasing boredom. So all that’s left to do is to instead stare at tea leaves to try to guess at what’s happening, and the Calgary Herald is on it!
Several councillors have confirmed that the 7-6 vote to postpone reflected discomfort with the proposed terms and fears the deal was moving too quickly without sufficient scrutiny.
Others on council say they’re frustrated with city hall’s inability to move ahead after months and months of discussions.
The six councillors who voted against the postponement included councillors Jeff Davison, Jyoti Gondek, Ray Jones, Joe Magliocca, Ward Sutherland and Sean Chu — the majority of whom are on the record as supporting the most recent proposal.
Coun. Evan Woolley, who voted to postpone, said he understands the frustration of his colleagues.
“At the same time, we need to have rigour to this process,” Woolley said. “Based on the conversations that came out of council meeting this week, I am deeply concerned that we are giving up rigour in favour of speed.
“I am very uncomfortable and was very uncomfortable that we were going to make mistakes and we are talking about taxpayers’ money here, and significant amounts of money.”
So parsing these even more finely, a majority of the council still wasn’t happy with the deal last week, so wanted to talk about it more today. What exactly they’re questioning, nobody’s saying, but whatever it is the questioning will be rigorous — sorry, rigourous — so everybody can breathe a little easier. Unless, of course, this is more about butt covering than actual scrutiny, but there’s no way to be sure!
We’ll find out more … not tomorrow, probably, but maybe after the council sits down with the Flames owners to hash out a final deal, and okay, it’s going to be tea leaves, nothing but tea leaves, for a while yet.