Arena Deal? We Deserve To See It.

Yesterday the Calgary Flames ownership group announced they are “no longer pursuing a new facility.”

Today Sean Chu voted against releasing details of the arena offer. Why? This makes no sense. I would have voted for transparency, and to share details with the public.

Calgarians deserve to know. Arena negotiations have been behind closed doors. Based on the original Calgary Next proposal, we can only assume taxpayers are being asked for a significant contribution. But we don’t know.

I love hockey. I played for decades, from house league to Junior to rec hockey as an adult. As a fan, I have vivid memories of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Like many, I appreciate the energy a team can generate for a community,

However, public investments in sporting facilities are generally poor from a strict financial sense. New facilities are no guarantee a team stays in its city, and in some cases taxpayers must pay off facility debt after a team has left.

In principle I don’t oppose public investment, but I must see any proposal in its entirety. We must understand the impact a new arena will have on taxpayers. I will look at it knowing every dollar of public funding is another dollar that can’t be used for other city-building projects, like the Green Line.

I have an open mind, so let’s see if the offer makes sense. It’s a shame the current Ward 4 Councillor doesn’t want us to see it.

We deserve better. The return to Calgarians on any arena deal must be clear and verifiable. Calgarians and Ward 4 residents deserve to know what it is.

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