Alberta’s premier names provincial rep in renewed Calgary event centre talks

Less than a week after the City of Calgary and the Calgary Flames ownership group announced a “fresh start” towards a new event centre, Alberta’s new premier is weighing in on the project.

“Simply stated, Calgary needs a new world class event centre and arena, and the time to commence with this project is now,” Danielle Smith wrote in a letter to Calgary’s mayor, the chair of Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. (CSEC) and the chair of the city’s event centre committee.

Smith also named Calgary-Hays MLA Ric McIver to be the provincial representative for the project.

Read more: City of Calgary enters formal discussions on new event centre project

McIver was most recently the minister of municipal affairs before Smith named a new cabinet on Friday. He’s also served as a minister of transportation, minister of infrastructure and a Calgary city councillor.

Story continues below advertisement

“I’ve asked him to reach out to both the city and CSEC to request feedback on how the province can be helpful in this regard,” Smith wrote in a letter she published on social media.

“I would like to identify potential ways that our government can assist the city and CSEC in achieving a successful outcome for this initiative.”

12

A letter from Alberta Premier Danielle Smith to Calgary’s mayor, the chair of Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp., and the chair of the city’s event centre committee naming Ric McIver the province’s representative. handout / Global News

22

A letter from Alberta Premier Danielle Smith to Calgary’s mayor, the chair of Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp., and the chair of the city’s event centre committee naming Ric McIver the province’s representative. handout / Global News

Tuesday afternoon, Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek told reporters the letter came as a surprise to her, noting she and Ward 2 Coun. Sonya Sharp – who chairs the city’s event centre committee – had not yet had an opportunity to discuss the letter with each other. But Gondek called the show of interest from the province “good news.”

Story continues below advertisement

“Right now there’s no money on the table, but I would assume there would have to be, otherwise I don’t know why we would have a liaison with the province,” Gondek told reporters.

“Any time we have more partners interested in helping us upgrade our infrastructure and bring a world-class facility to our city, (we are) happy to have those conversations.”

Read more: Trio named as Calgary event centre third party for negotiations, timeline still undetermined

The premier’s office said there have been no discussions around funding yet.

On Wednesday, the city announced their trio of local third-party negotiators were successful in broaching new negotiations with the Flames owners and had contracted CAA ICON as the city’s representatives in the talks.

CSEC and the city have been working to replace the 39-year-old Scotiabank Saddledome since 2015.

Story continues below advertisement

The previous deal for a $608.5-million event centre to be located just north of Saddledome expired just before the end of 2021, when CSEC informed Gondek they were unable to move forward because of concerns of escalating costs.

Gondek said her office and city officials had been working with the Flames group to mitigate additional costs, including climate mitigation, and road and sidewalk work.

The original deal signed by the city and CSEC had the project pegged at $555 million, with costs evenly split between the parties and a $25-million contingency that would also be shared 50/50. Any additional costs would be borne by the Flames owners.

Read more: Calgary Flames pull out of new arena deal with city due to rising costs

Construction was slated for early 2022.

In 2015, the failed CalgaryNext project was proposed for the city’s West Village, but cost estimates ballooned to $1.8 billion with up to $1.3 billion in public investment.

While a radio talk show host with Corus Radio, Smith argued in favour of the multisport complex. Corus Entertainment is the owner of Global News.

Click to play video: 'City of Calgary enters formal discussions on new event centre project'

City of Calgary enters formal discussions on new event centre project

In 2017, Calgary city council voted for an alternate plan: an event centre in Victoria Park.

Story continues below advertisement

The Saddledome’s construction concluded in 1983 and became an iconic host of ice hockey and figure skating at the 1988 Winter Olympics.

–More to come.

&© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

View original article here Source