News / Edmonton

Mayor rues missed opportunity

Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel isn't impressed with reports suggesting federal gas-tax money could be used for an arena project in Quebec City.

"You'd have to call and ask the prime minister why they consistently want to give help to Quebec and our name never comes up," said Mandel.

Under existing rules, the transfer of $2 billion annually in gas-tax revenues cannot be used to build arenas or other sports facilities. Rather, the fund is designed to pay for municipal infrastructure such as roads, bridges and water-treatment plants, or for greenhouse-gas reduction and waste-management projects.

Edmonton used its share for the south LRT.

"There's no extra dollars," said Mandel.

The new proposal was brought forward to the Conservative caucus yesterday by St. Catharines MP Rick Dykstra, as Quebec City continues to push for an NHL team.

"I'm a bit disappointed that they made changes to help a group with something when other people have already committed," said Mandel. "I don't think it's fair."

Edmonton's share of the money doubled from $20 million in 2008 to $43.6 million last year, and the city will receive that amount annually until 2014.

"That's expected to go on for many years," said city spokesperson Robert Moyles. "What about the municipalities that have fully committed all the funds they've got?"

A press conference has been called for today in Quebec City.

"If we knew they would be changed, we might have done things differently," said Mandel.

With files from the canadian press

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