D-DAY FOR THE ARENA

Wanye
October 24 2011 08:53PM

So it seems that there is an all day session of City Council tomorrow for the final public consultation and debate their involvement in the proposed downtown arena.

If we were a betting man (we are) we would think that this deal will move forward after tomorrow’s session (it will) but that there will be the small matter of a multi-million dollar funding gap will need to be addressed (it does.)

We'd also bet the majority of those who will ultimately end up picking up a large portion of the tab will remain on the sidelines content to let "others handle their bizness for them."

THE PROJECT SO FAR

 

Proposing large scale development of internationally recognizable landmarks often brings a City together with a common goal of leapfrogging their town into an exciting tomorrow. At some point developers in Las Vegas were able to see past its state as a tiny outpost in the middle of the Nevada Desert and began conceiving of a tourist mecca that could generate tens of thousands of jobs and billions in revenue for the City.

Similarly the shift in the Dubai to diversify from a oil based economy to one that’s service and tourism focused started with a single series of buildings and expanded into one of the more startling development projects in the world.

Now certainly there are many differences between Edmonton, Vegas and Dubai. Gangsters and the mob built the first iteration of Vegas for example, where as the Sheik in Dubai hardly has to worry about consulting the public when he wants to erect a structure – tax dollars be damned.

But the case can be made that large scale development in most cities begins with an early project which kicks off substantial development in every direction. These two examples were cities in the desert that could not have been any more different. But they both saw an opportunity to build more, become something better – something different than they were at that point.

Is this the case with the popular view in Edmonton?

NOT SO MUCH

Despite the fact we lie squarely in one of the fastest growing economic corridors in the world, this economic development has occurred largely to the South and the North of us and E-town has been passed over by any sort of leap forward. And almost as a vote of confidence in our continued stagnation, property prices have risen in most major Canadian cities these past 3 years - but not in Edmonton.

Sadly the highest profile commercial development since West Edmonton Mall has largely failed to capture the hearts and minds of your average non-hockey fan in Edmonton. Politicians – quick to point to a myriad of solvable problems, the reclusiveness of Daryl Katz and the potential problems of funding a project this large – have been largely in the ‘opposed’ camp.

As elected individuals tasked with improving Edmonton one would think that at least a couple of them would have stuck their necks out for the project and planted their flag firmly in the Pro-Arena Camp for the simple reason that development on this scale comes along once in a politicians lifetime. Only the Mayor of Edmonton seems interested in exploring options to move this forward and he should receive a standing ovation.

NOT THE CASE

The Katz Group have not done themselves any favours in their quest to do the project as a public-private partnership. Failing to have an inspired or unique arena design and failing to build much of a groundswell of support it is clear that Daryl Katz has not made his billions in building Downtown Arena Development Projects.

Still, he too should be given a Gold Star for trying to do anything of note in this here northern Canadian City. It has been a largely thankless job and despite whatever shortcomings in their courting process of City Hall they deserve a hand for standing up for development in Edmonton.

Like it or not the Oilers –and by default the regularly televised arena – are Edmonton’s largest calling card in North America. A gleaming new arena standing as a testament to Edmonton’s commitment to fight its way back among the top cities in Canada would be regularly featured on millions of TV sets around the continent for years to come. It would send a message.

Building a new Downtown Arena won’t reverse the brain drain that this City has seen in the past 30 years. It won’t attract new companies to downtown core, nor will it fill the potholes outside your house. But it could be the beginning of a new cycle of development and growth in Edmonton’s history. In the case of the Downtown Arena we must collectively turn toward a path of development, change and building a downtown core that can attract further development of all sorts in the coming generation.

Bringing the largest entertainment district in Edmonton to the centre of the City would be a great start. The new arena would generate millions of new tourism dollars for the City, employ thousands during its construction and onward and would be a tremendous place for Albertans to congregate for business or pleasure.

The vocal minority of “Anti-Arena/Anti Daryl Katz/I hate everything” types have monopolized the media on the subject almost since the project started being whispered about a couple of years ago. Those of us who are pro-arena have remained far more silent either due to apathy, indifference or a charming confidence the deal will get done without significant public support.

We strongly suggest you get involved in any way you see fit if you are in favour of going forward with the arena. Not because you are an Oilers fan or because you think “Billionaires should get free stuff.” But because you are a Citizen of Edmonton/Alberta/Canada and understand that civic rebounding needs a rally point. This arena could be it.

For Edmonton’s sake – we hope it is it. 

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED

Go to City Hall tomorrow and have your say:

A public hearing on the funding framework for the proposed arena will be held on October 25, 2011 in Council Chamber at City Hall, starting at 9:30am. The public hearing will provide another opportunity for members of the public to voice their opinion on the proposed funding framework.

Information on registering to speak is available at www.edmonton.ca/meetings. The public hearing may draw a large audience. The River Valley and Heritage Rooms in City Hall will be set up with live streaming video for overflow viewing.

09049f03ecb006ab29372206f2a88f75
Blog so hard motherf**ckers try and find me. Email me at wanyegretz@gmail.com or tweet me @wanyegretz provided it is about Jordan Eberle or babes.
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#51 Wäx Män Riley
October 24 2011, 11:50PM
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reb98 wrote:

Read Gregor's new blog.......

councillor Kim Krushell: "Basically, what Katz is agreeing to is - sure, he is getting the revenue, but he has to pay for all operations, all maintenance, and here is the kicker - he’s got to pay for all long term capital. And - he’s got to compete against Northlands.

Thank you.... going there now. See you there :)

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#52 edmontoncritic - BRoadwAY
October 24 2011, 11:57PM
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@Jazzy Jeff

The implied notion some are making saying its taking away from Health care and education, get a grip. The city is NOT hiking your property taxes to pay for this!

Why does it have to get done soon? Construction costs are going to fly higher than Lindsey Lohan after a stint on lockdown at "Betty Ford's house". There is almost $300,000,000,000 in PLANNED projects in the oilsands. In english that means, "HOLY CRAP, THAT's ALOT OF INVESTMENT". That number is not just a career point score in Contra, its real and its coming hard and fast for a LONG time(TWSS). Considering AB is already near full employment(5%), it might be in our best interest to do this pretty freakin soon or we'll have another 23rd ave overpass or Yellow head to hang our hats on. Do we want to be known as the idiots who wait SO long to do anything, that it costs us 2/3/4/5/10 times what it should?

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#53 Jason Gregor
October 25 2011, 01:11AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

If 100 mill of public money the province has earmarked for infrastructure is instead used for an new arena, it will be at the expense of schools, utilities, policing etc and new taxes will have to be collected to make up the shortfall...

You should go read my article and Krushell's comment about that.

Spending money to generate more tax dollars seems like smart business to me.

Suggesting new taxes will have to be collected is once again false, unless you are calling a councillor a liar.

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#54 David S
October 25 2011, 01:16AM
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I'm not sure why people aren't getting the main point here. If this project doesn't go through, YOU the taxpayer will be fronting a $250M "lipstick on a pig" project at RX1.

So that's your choice. Rebuild RX1 and get...a rebuilt RX1 with ZERO new tax revenue generated, or spend the money downtown and get a whole new entertainment district (which includes an arena) that is projected to generate $1.2 BILLION in new tax revenue. That's on top of all the other projects waiting in the wings.

And don't worry about the missing $100M. As soon as the city green-lights the project I'm quite certain the province will step in. In fact, it has been documented that all the city has to do is ask for the money from the infrastructure fund. It's there for municipalities to use as they see fit.

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#55 Jason Gregor
October 25 2011, 01:21AM
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JoeShmo wrote:

this is what people use on a day-to-day basis. this is what drives people to live in an area, not an arena.

so yes, the creation of a new school and grocery stores would contribute greatly to our downtown which at the moment as a dearth of both.

i've got a masters in urban planning. i think i know a thing or two about this stuff.

Don't you need housing nearby for kids to attend the school? If you build a school on the proposed site who is going to go to it?

Not sure if you noticed the safeway on 104 ave and 115th street. I haven't seen a massive amount of new development other than the one building by Hudsons.

Do families live in condos downtown? I don't see a lot of areas to build new houses DT right now, so where are these families for the kids in your proposed school going to come from?

New neighbourhoods need schools and grocery stores, but I'm not sure putting one by the Casino will have people flocking to live there.

I don't have a masters in urban planning so I could be wrong, but that location doesn't seem to match up with your analysis.

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#56 David S
October 25 2011, 01:24AM
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As a general comment on the matter, it's far easier to throw up roadblocks and jam up the system than it is to actually sit down and figure out how to make things happen. I have to commend Mayor Mandel for sticking his neck out on this while alot of aldermen are sitting on the sidelines and pandering to the people who seem to wish this city would just stay in the 70's.

I dunno. Maybe people get a kick out of stalling progress. Would we call them "civic trolls"?

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#57 David S
October 25 2011, 01:32AM
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JoeShmo wrote:

this is what people use on a day-to-day basis. this is what drives people to live in an area, not an arena.

so yes, the creation of a new school and grocery stores would contribute greatly to our downtown which at the moment as a dearth of both.

i've got a masters in urban planning. i think i know a thing or two about this stuff.

What does your masters in urban planning have to say about the recent closures of Edmonton urban schools due to under-use and the trend of shifting new educational infrastructure to the suburbs?

In general, people with families tend to want to live in suburban areas (if they have a choice). The people you want in downtown urban centers usually consist of urban professionals with disposable income. They don't (usually) have kids. They are the ones who go out at night and on the weekends to bars, restaurants, theaters,...and hockey games.

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#58 Oilcruzer
October 25 2011, 05:25AM
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spOILer wrote:

Wanye is probably my favorite writer on ON. He has a real talent for combining the facetious with the flip in a fast, frolicking froth of fun.

That said...

THIS MIGHT BE THE WORST ARTICLE EVER!!!

This is the kind of summary and analysis I expect from some citizen who hasn't gotten beyond the "brain drain" we call public schooling.

Maybe you should take another look at the frozen economics of Dubai again, Wanye, because the failure of developers in that very country is a PERFECT example of why taxpayer money should not be involved in private development.

This is the kind of article that belongs in the category of Promotion and it calls into question whatever integrity and independence I thought this site had over the MSM.

ON Co-opted. This is a very sad day.

Blogs take news stories and form opinions, and promote discussions.

Blogs are not supposed to be unbiased news sources.

Sorry.

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#59 Walter Sobchak
October 25 2011, 06:54AM
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Um, I'm not sure if anyone mentioned the most important issue! Bigger seats and more leg room please!

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#60 mayorpoop
October 25 2011, 07:58AM
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David S wrote:

As a general comment on the matter, it's far easier to throw up roadblocks and jam up the system than it is to actually sit down and figure out how to make things happen. I have to commend Mayor Mandel for sticking his neck out on this while alot of aldermen are sitting on the sidelines and pandering to the people who seem to wish this city would just stay in the 70's.

I dunno. Maybe people get a kick out of stalling progress. Would we call them "civic trolls"?

i do agree i think the Mayor has been pro-active and seemingly doing his best to reach an agreement.

i also think that the "...people who seem to wish this city would just stay in the 70's" is a lazy/ignorant comment that lacks any real thought.

politics are divisive. there is no getting around that. 99% of people that have concerns aren't trying to slow progress i think but rather understand the progression.

there are some legitimate questions to ask and that are being asked. i wonder about the location. why not the municipal airport grounds? is downtown vital the city's survival?

i am not opposed to the idea of a downtown arena but i do think there are alot of smart people around who have valid points and we'd be silly to not at least listen.

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#61 Clyde Frog
October 25 2011, 08:39AM
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@mayorpoop

The problem is that in general the public only gain access to the "experts" via the media. The media tends to give air time to those "experts" who have opinions that drive discussion and not to the boring proffessor who mitigates and explains.

I really believe that is why public views get so polarized across the board on "big" issues.

Anyone with an urban planning degree would know how tax base structures for urban centres work and the fact that older neoghbourhoods tend to become unable to support the services they require from the city and newer neighbourhoods are forced to carry more and more of the upkeep costs for the city. Which of course forces the urbanized sprawl to much greater degrees.

Anytime you can take an older depressed tax centres and change the fundamental way they work to provide support is a positive one as it builds another centre that can actually carry the cost of older areas.

That is the whole theory behind revitalization. If you want informed opinions email the economics faculty at the UofA, don't turn your radio on...

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#62 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
October 25 2011, 08:47AM
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If it is not built he Oilers will eventually have to leave to Ontario or ?If we thought loosing #94 took the soul out of this City what would it mean for the whole team to leave?

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#63 S_Dub
October 25 2011, 08:53AM
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@james_dean

James, separate school boards are enshrined in the constitution (AKA the BNA Act). As much as I abhor funding for religious indoctrination, without a constitutional amendment or challenge, your idea is a non-starter.

I was vehemently anti-arena, but have softened my view on it somewhat. What's important is to have a realistic idea of what we want our city to be, and work towards that goal. I'm not convinced a downtown arena is going to do anything for downtown revitalization, but I do think that having the Oilers is a definite benefit to the City.

Having just been to Winnipeg, I had to admire "The Forks" area, and I hope the city can do something similar with the Rossdale power plant area. Further, I think a swimming beach at Hawrelak park is well worth the public investment because everyone can enjoy it and it makes for a selling feature for the city. Regarding the arena - if we decide, as a city, that the benefits to the city as a whole outweigh the costs, then we should build it. However, immediately dismissing any argument against it is counter-productive to our goal of creating the best city possible with limited resources. We need the best possible deal for the city at the least possible cost. Once that deal is worked out, we need to determine if it's worth it. Debate is absolutely needed and should not be discouraged.

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#64 mayorpoop
October 25 2011, 09:02AM
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@Clyde Frog

thanks.

with the understanding that what i am told on the radio, tv, and blogs is far from the gospel i attempt to listen to those who voices are more relaxed and calm in their demeanor. those shouting from the rafters generally shout because they need someone to listen to them. those that don't shout just want you to listen and then proceed, freely and with an open mind.

i am by no means an expert nor a urban planner.

whatever happens will be done without my consent, thankfully, and after said decision we should move forward.

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#65 Clyde Frog
October 25 2011, 09:10AM
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@mayorpoop

Sorry didn't notice that I was writing in a reply, my post was more of a general point than anything directed at you.

It's too early to be posting.

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#66 rubbertrout
October 25 2011, 09:25AM
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Yes public dollars were used for the Museum and the Art Gallery. Neither of these can be even remotely compared to the Oilers as revenue generators.

If people bought $150 jerseys and $10 beer while they were at the art gallery or watched the art gallery on Sportsnet because of the lucrative TV deal to watch the paintings and sculptures and whatnot then it would be an apt comparison.

I believe Edmonton needs a new arena. I'm not wild about public dollars being used to fund it. I think the City has given some fairly big concessions to the Oilers already and if Katz and co want another $100M or so I'd be inclined to tell them to stuff it.

I actually beleive that there would be a revitalization to the core in Edmonton if it was built around an entertainment district. I can't prove it but I think it would happen. Should the City kick in more than that? I don't pay property tax in Edmonton so I guess it isn't my call.

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#67 mayorpoop
October 25 2011, 09:31AM
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@Clyde Frog

well regardless thanks for the general info. made sense.

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#68 oiler/hab
October 25 2011, 10:07AM
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Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!" wrote:

If it is not built he Oilers will eventually have to leave to Ontario or ?If we thought loosing #94 took the soul out of this City what would it mean for the whole team to leave?

great point!!!

ask winnipegers

Leo

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#69 S.Tambellini
October 25 2011, 10:31AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Don't you need housing nearby for kids to attend the school? If you build a school on the proposed site who is going to go to it?

Not sure if you noticed the safeway on 104 ave and 115th street. I haven't seen a massive amount of new development other than the one building by Hudsons.

Do families live in condos downtown? I don't see a lot of areas to build new houses DT right now, so where are these families for the kids in your proposed school going to come from?

New neighbourhoods need schools and grocery stores, but I'm not sure putting one by the Casino will have people flocking to live there.

I don't have a masters in urban planning so I could be wrong, but that location doesn't seem to match up with your analysis.

Uh. Really Gregor? Families dont live in condos? Where do they keep all the kids in these world class cities we keep wanting to compare ourselves to? Where do they live in NY, Toronto, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Paris?

And you might want to have a better look around next time you are at that Hudsons.

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#70 S.Tambellini
October 25 2011, 10:35AM
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If you want to read something with points, counterpoints, concessions and citations I would recommend this letter from Scott Hennig.

http://bit.ly/vIkrXj

Great breakdown of the issue and proves that you can love the Oilers and Edmonton and still hate this deal. These things aren't mutually exclusive.

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#71 S_Dub
October 25 2011, 10:52AM
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@Clyde Frog

"Anyone with an urban planning degree would know how tax base structures for urban centres work and the fact that older neoghbourhoods tend to become unable to support the services they require from the city and newer neighbourhoods are forced to carry more and more of the upkeep costs for the city. Which of course forces the urbanized sprawl to much greater degrees."

That's incorrect. Currently, it's the older neighbourhoods who pay for the infrastructure developments in new neighborhoods, while getting their own special assessments for their own infrastructure upgrades, which is the opposite of how it should work if we want to encourage inner city development.

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#72 DieHard
October 25 2011, 11:55AM
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Does anyone remember the "Omniplex"?

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#73 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
October 25 2011, 12:07PM
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@S.Tambellini

I read that letter. It's good to read the opposing argument too.

From what I get the letters stance is, basically, wait for a better deal to come. Kind of like a hockey player holding out for a better contract.

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#74 Lego
October 25 2011, 01:04PM
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I have always been in favour of the downtown arena, that is until the mayor and Katz returned from New York with the new framework that essentially has Katz renting the arena for 3.5 mil/year. The city buys the land, the city funds the construction, the city covers any cost overruns, Katz gets to design the building, Katz gets all revenue generated by the arena including non hockey events.

If Katz doesn't want to put up any money upfront then the city should treat him as a renter and charge him rent (at a reasonable rate) for the nights the Oilers use the arena, heck we can even give him all proceeds from concessions and parking on hockey nights. All other event revenues for non hockey events go to the city. The city gets to design the building.

Katz gets a new home for his team, the city gets a new showpiece for downtown revitalization that actually can pay for itself over time.

Now if Katz wants to put the 100 mil upfront then I think he deserves a larger portion of revenue and a bigger say. But the way the current deal is structured no way.

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#77 Clyde Frog
October 25 2011, 01:33PM
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@S_Dub

I beg to differ, if you look at the commercial development being placed into urban sprawl, it was to combat the exact issue outlined above.

From an economics point of view the city does a poor job of indexing taxes with inflation, new development shares its infrastructue with developers and the upkeep costs of older neighbourhoods don't get to be amortized in capital costs because the amortization ended 30 years ago.

Add it all up and you can draw a sink-hole of cash expense around our scenic but older neighbourhoods in the city.

I was going to write a 20+ paragraph response, but I stopped because well this is the internet, it doesn't matter and every economist who believes in "revitalization" as an important part of restructuring urban centres into self-supporting enterprises isn't an idiot. There is a method to their madness.

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#78 mayorpoop
October 25 2011, 01:41PM
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Wanye wrote:

Everyone who agrees with my point of view is a genius. Everyone who disagrees is dangerously misinformed and is probably crazy.

spoken like a true dictator.

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#79 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
October 25 2011, 01:55PM
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@Wanye

I agree with your point of view all the while being dangerously misinformed and crazy. Now what's THAT? crazy, dangerous, genius... a Mad Scientist? Yes.

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#80 michael
October 25 2011, 02:05PM
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edmontoncritic - BRoadwAY wrote:

The implied notion some are making saying its taking away from Health care and education, get a grip. The city is NOT hiking your property taxes to pay for this!

Why does it have to get done soon? Construction costs are going to fly higher than Lindsey Lohan after a stint on lockdown at "Betty Ford's house". There is almost $300,000,000,000 in PLANNED projects in the oilsands. In english that means, "HOLY CRAP, THAT's ALOT OF INVESTMENT". That number is not just a career point score in Contra, its real and its coming hard and fast for a LONG time(TWSS). Considering AB is already near full employment(5%), it might be in our best interest to do this pretty freakin soon or we'll have another 23rd ave overpass or Yellow head to hang our hats on. Do we want to be known as the idiots who wait SO long to do anything, that it costs us 2/3/4/5/10 times what it should?

People who think every tax dollar should be spent on healthcare and education should give thier heads a reality shake. I work in a hospital. You want to pay me 500 bucks an hour I'll take it. If you want an economy where evryone has an equitible salary and a job that gives them a pension and decent wage then you need to develop and build an economy that is diverse. I like the thought of 3000 guys working to build a better dowtown. I like the idea of permanent jobs created by a 18500 seat arena. I like the idea of an Arts building. Never been in it. But if I or any member of my family wish to go see art they ca.

I believe in equality for all and I like it when my City gives money to festivals like Cariwest, the Gay Parade, and things like The Folk festival and Heritage Days. Those are ou.r tax dollars that are being given to support those grops and organizations. Should we tell council to stop doing that so we give all our money to healthcare and snow removal, and paving and sewer work and LRT(which I have used once in 20 years).

My point is that the arena debate is and should not be about healthcare or education. It should be about is this deal in the" public good". Years ago people didn't have public healthcare. But it was seen in the best interests for all. This arena will serve "all", not just a few. How many times over the past 40 years or so have we visited Rexall,Northlands,or Skyreach for an event other than a hockey game? Most of us can say we have been to a concert there, or another event. A building like the one proposed serves us all.

The Edmonton Oilers are as part of our identity as the River Valley has become.The Winsprear,The Northern Jubilee Auditoriam or Gallagher Park. Saying that I believe that the Arena will be a positive landmark in this City for years to come.

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#81 S_Dub
October 25 2011, 02:45PM
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@Clyde Frog

I'm a big fan of inner-city revitalization. To make it happen, development in new areas needs to be discouraged in favour of development in old areas. The problem is, land is much cheaper and easier to develop in the suburbs. When you further reduce the costs of suburban living by expanding infrastructure to reduce commute times from the suburbs, you further incentivize suburban development against urban development. Until you can encourage people to live, work and shop downtown by increasing the costs of this in the suburbs and decreasing hte costs in the inner city, development will occur mostly in the suburbs leaving the inner city dead. An arena will not be sufficient to change that.

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#82 mayorpoop
October 25 2011, 02:50PM
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it's a bit of a problem when the only way we know how to revitalize our downtown is by building an arena.

if this is the case then there are bigger issues the city must face. such as lack of planning altogether.

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#83 Clyde Frog
October 25 2011, 03:25PM
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The idea of relocating where people live has to start with amenities, such as the development around the arena.

Other issues is the way the city handles redevelopment permits of the non-commercial and commercial properties. IE How cheap/easy it is for a developer to purchase a block of houses/apartments, obtain permits for redevelopment and obtain labour to perform the work. Saying a new arena with a entertainment complex doesn't factor into a developers mindset is disingenuous.

New infrastructure, amenities potential residents would value and a pleasing astetic all factor into what people want to do.

To put it plainly, you can't expect a spontanious revitalization. The city needs to sit down and look at this opportunity on the whole and decide how to properly incetivise development around the project for the next decade. Of course that type of thought process is just what local government is famous for not being able to produce, but one can hope.

It isn't everyday the city has a chance to jumpstart the process, I'm not saying blindly sign over a blank cheque to Kates... But anyone sitting back and saying it will be a blackhole after its developed is giving the city a pass once its built. They are the critical cog to taking Katz's proffered opportunity and turning into a benefit for all, that isn't Katz's responsibility at all.

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#85 mayorpoop
October 25 2011, 04:32PM
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Wanye wrote:

I'm no longer in charge. Kent is.

*knits fingers together in classic evil fashion*

kent schment he likes the flames.*

you on the other hand play for the right team.

*unless you see this post comment Mr. Kent then disregard dear overlord and gracious leader.

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#86 s_berezin94
October 25 2011, 04:48PM
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please delete

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#87 S_Dub
October 25 2011, 05:01PM
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@Clyde Frog

I don't disagree with you. The question is, do the amenities come because of the people, or do the people come because of the amenities? I would argue that in most cases, its the former, as a business won't be successful without customers. The question then becomes, without amenities, who will move there? You believe the arena district will create these amenities, I believe that it won't, and that most of the amenties the arena could bring (bars and hotels) will not encourage most people to live there (restaurants could).

The problem is that Edmonton is not at a point where there is a critical mass of downtown demand. In Calgary, getting to and from downtown is difficult and parking is expensive. In Edmonton, it's easy to get downtown and cheap to park. The primary concern for 99% of people looking for a home is not "is there an arena district nearby (facetious to make a point, but its also not primarily "what bars or restaurants are nearby"), its "is it safe", "how expensive is the rent/mortgage", and "how long is the commute". Until the answers to those questions make living in the inner city more viable than living in the suburbs, downtown development will be secondary. While an arena district may make it safer on ~100 nights a year, the other ~265 its empty, and without people around, criminals are much more comfortable. So, the best solution, if indeed the goal is to encourage downtown and inner city development, is to take the money that would have been put into the arena, as well as the money that's been used to increase infrastructure capacity to support the suburbs, and use it to encourage businesses and people to move downtown. Let's be honest - ATB and CWB do far more to bring people downtown than the arena, and yet what would we say if they asked for a new, taxpayer subsidizes headquarters?

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#88 Clyde Frog
October 25 2011, 06:12PM
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@S_Dub

Sorry, what your saying is that we need to use the money to encourage businesses to come downtown... When that is exactly what the arena complex is? Katz has committed 100 million to development outside of the arena itself and build up the district.

How is a office tower being compared to a mall/entertainment complex?

As to the people before amenities argument, its you need both at the same time. Without City support and forethought in terms of development permits and planning permission designed to capitalize on the influx of capital downtown, you are right it will fail.

I think we agree in principle, we just hold differing views of how the City can and should attract business.

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#89 edmontoncritic - BRoadwAY
October 25 2011, 09:35PM
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michael wrote:

People who think every tax dollar should be spent on healthcare and education should give thier heads a reality shake. I work in a hospital. You want to pay me 500 bucks an hour I'll take it. If you want an economy where evryone has an equitible salary and a job that gives them a pension and decent wage then you need to develop and build an economy that is diverse. I like the thought of 3000 guys working to build a better dowtown. I like the idea of permanent jobs created by a 18500 seat arena. I like the idea of an Arts building. Never been in it. But if I or any member of my family wish to go see art they ca.

I believe in equality for all and I like it when my City gives money to festivals like Cariwest, the Gay Parade, and things like The Folk festival and Heritage Days. Those are ou.r tax dollars that are being given to support those grops and organizations. Should we tell council to stop doing that so we give all our money to healthcare and snow removal, and paving and sewer work and LRT(which I have used once in 20 years).

My point is that the arena debate is and should not be about healthcare or education. It should be about is this deal in the" public good". Years ago people didn't have public healthcare. But it was seen in the best interests for all. This arena will serve "all", not just a few. How many times over the past 40 years or so have we visited Rexall,Northlands,or Skyreach for an event other than a hockey game? Most of us can say we have been to a concert there, or another event. A building like the one proposed serves us all.

The Edmonton Oilers are as part of our identity as the River Valley has become.The Winsprear,The Northern Jubilee Auditoriam or Gallagher Park. Saying that I believe that the Arena will be a positive landmark in this City for years to come.

Did you happen to forget "angelo" at the end of your name? This compilation of letters above my comment is a true piece of art.

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#90 S_Dub
October 26 2011, 08:53AM
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@Clyde Frog

When I said "businesses", I was more specifically referring to offices, or other places where people actually work, not to restaurants and bars. The truth is, even if Katz built the office towers, there would be no tenants to fill the space. If you want to encourage downtown developments, you need tenants to move to downtown Edmonton. My point being that CWB's head office downtown does a lot to bring people there, and, just like with residential development, if we want business to shift their operations downtown, it has to make financial sense.

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