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'Are we saying we won't even put $100 into it?': Councillor wants answers on CalgaryNEXT

Shane Keating says an all or nothing approach just doesn’t make sense

Artist rendering of the planned north entrance into the CalgaryNEXT arena.

Courtesy/ CalgaryNEXT

Artist rendering of the planned north entrance into the CalgaryNEXT arena.

What’s next in the CalgaryNEXT conversation?

Coun. Shane Keating is hoping for an elevated discourse; less all or nothing, no public funds, and those who argue we need a stadium no matter what.

Lately, talk of CalgaryNEXT has been polarizing. With Mayor Naheed Nenshi declaring the project’s death (RIP stadium idea 2015-2017), and Ken King quipping back letting the public know it’s not dead, just resting. And THEN (you thought we were done) a confusing radio appearance where King seemed to say if we don’t build the new digs the Flames might pack up and leave.

“What I want to know is what the public feeling is on that one crucial word, I feel, and that’s investing,” said Keating. “And to what level? Are we saying we won’t even put $100 into it?”

The Ward 12 councillor is trying to gauge where exactly public interest lies so that municipal politicians can make informed decisions about how to strike a deal.

“There has to be some credible way of getting the public’s feeling on the definition of what investing means, and what the limit is,” said Keating. “It’s ridiculous for us to sit here and say not one dollar is put into helping get a new arena in the city.”

Courtesy/ CalgaryNEXT

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He added giving the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation a no-strings-attached lump sum doesn’t make sense either.

Instead, he sees scenarios with a loan or a revenue sharing model.

When Metro asked for comment from Ken King about Keating’s call for better public discourse, and loan models, there wasn’t time in his schedule. Instead, CSEC pointed to a financing page on the CalgaryNEXT website.

It includes information about the West Village plan using the Community Revitalization Levy cash $240 million, $450 million in private investment from CSEC and $200 million from the city.

But if the West Village site isn’t where the stadium dream lands, it’s unclear using the CRL is even possible.

“It has nothing to do with the CRL,” said Keating. He explained if the stadium moves locales funding through the levy wouldn’t be possible because it wouldn’t technically be redeveloping lands, but building somewhere development is already ongoing.

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