STOP THE INSANITY... AND A BATTLER

Jason Gregor
July 18 2012 11:18AM

It's true, we are all special in our own way, and usually we can't stand the differences in others. It's a vicious cycle, and at times I just want to put my hands up and shout, "Enough."

The Arena debate has become too much for me. Both sides have become so blinded by their goal that they can't even be rationale anymore.

Can we please just come to a conclusion.

I doubt I'm the only one who feels this way.

Don't get me wrong, I understand it is a big decision, but can we please stop pretending, "This is the most important decision our city will make in the next 50 years," because if it is then our city won't have accomplished much in the next half century.

This debate has reached the point where the extremists for both sides are reaching for anything to back up their stance.

LINE IN THE SAND

This debate has gone on for years and we haven't seen much real progress, for either side.

PRO ARENA

  • I respect that you want the rink, because I want it as well, but please stop implying that if the rink isn't built the Oilers are leaving town. Where are they going? Kansas City, yes I'm sure those fans will sell out the rink every night, especially in the 6th consecutive year with no playoffs. And I'm sure they will pay $225/night for lowerbowl tickets. Not happening, so stop the subtle fear mongering.

    There are no other cities in Canada who have a rink, and do you think good ole Gary Bettman is going to let one of the few teams that make money just up and leave. Have you not been paying attention to the Phoenix Coyotes situation...Bettman won't let a team losing $30 million a year leave, but you think that he'll just let the Oilers leave town? Be better.

    Talk about the good points of the arena, but don't stoop to the low level of subtle threats. It's not helping your cause.
     
  • Daryl Katz get in front of your idea. People want to believe in you, but they can't believe in someone they never see or hear. I don't expect you to stand in front of the media every day, but is it that hard to stand up once, answer a few questions and tell the fans why you want the rink. I saw you speak at city council. Everyone could see your passion. You were well spoken. I understand public speaking isn't your thing, but it is clear you are a smart man, and you must realize that talking to the fans and citizens of Edmonton would help your dream more than hurt it.
     
  • Why no mention of a Green Arena like Wanye was touting a couple years back?
     
  • What happened to the talk that there would be an "affordable seating" section in the new rink. Is it still going to happen, and if so, why haven't you kept talking about it. You need to keep mentioning some of the unique aspects you originally said would be in place.

ANTI ARENA

  • Your argument that "the billionaire" should pay for everything has little depth, and from where I sit, it comes across as jealousy as much as anything else.
     
  • Stop implying that the MSI (Municipal Sustainability Initiative) will take away money from education and healthcare. MSI is for infrastructure, it won't cost any teachers or healthcare workers their jobs. Spokesperson for municipal affairs for the government of Alberta, Michelle Davio, explained to me exactly how it works.

"One of the eligible categories to use MSI funding is for parks, recreation, and sports facilities. There's a criteria, but assuming that it meets the criteria, that would be an acceptable use. Building a school falls under another budget."

  • In 2013 Davio said Edmonton is expected to receive $187 million in MSI funding and likely the same or more in the following years. She also said that the city doesn't need to use the $100 million in one shot; it can be spread out over years. So Edmonton could use $10 million for the next ten years, or $25 million over the next four. You can debate the $10 million could go towards other infrastructure, but at least argue the actual yearly number. If it is $10 million a year that is 5.3% of the total MSI every year. It won't cripple the city.
     
  • If you are opposed to the funding structure of the arena, please submit a viable alternative. It is easy to say you don't like deal, but I've yet to see any report with any real substance as to what would be a better route. I think most would agree our downtown needs to improve, so show us your plan, maybe it is better.

BOTH SIDES

  • How come no one came up with a plan for cost overruns? Did you honestly believe this project wouldn't come in over budget? Someone needed to have that in place, and then we wouldn't have had to deal with people going nuts over the new $485 million price tag. I said from day one we knew it would cost more than $450 million, so how come no one had a contingency plan on how to pay for overruns?
     
  • Can someone tell us what the timetable is regarding the MSI. When will the provincial government decide if the city can use the $100 million? Considering the MSI has been around since 2007, there must have been a schedule or protocol in previous years on when they approved or vetoed any proposed projects. The money is distributed in June, according to Davio, so did they approve the arena under the MSI last month or not?

    Councillor Bryan Anderson hinted that a decision was coming soon, but why not be more specific. I'm guessing he must know the timetable of said decision.
     
  • Most Edmontonians want the truth. We might not like it, but like most things in life if you hear the truth at least we know where we stand. It has been two years and the progress has been laughable. Even Steve Tambellini thinks you are taking too long to make a decision.

I respect that this is a big decision, with many moving parts, but can we please come to a resolution either way. Other cities have made this decision, for or against, in a much shorter time frame.

Make a decision and live with it, and hopefully it is the right one.

QUICK HITS

Brent Peterson was selected 12th overall in 1978 by the Detroit Red Wings. He played four years of junior in the WCHL (now the WHL), two with the Edmonton Oil Kings and two in Portland. He tallied 34 goals and 112 points in 69 games as a 19-year-old in Portland before being drafted by the Wings as a 20-year-old.

He spent 11 seasons in the NHL between Detroit, Buffalo, Vancouver and Hartford. Like many high-scoring juniors he had to change his game to stick in the NHL. He became a checking forward and played 620 games.

He retired in the summer of 1989 and became an assistant coach that fall with the Whalers. He was there for two years, before he went back to Portland. He spent the next seven season in Portland, the first two as a co-coach and then the last five as head coach.

In 1998 Barry Trotz hired him as his assistant in Nashville and he was there for 12 years before he had to step down because of Parkinson's disease. 

TSN also did a wonderful feature on Peterson as well. You can watch it here.

For years Peterson didn't tell many people he had Parkinson's, but recently he decided it would be better if he became a spokesperson for the devastating disease. I've seen how destructive Parkinson's can be and Brent has become a great spokesman for this disease.

He is an incredible story teller and he will be in town on Monday, August 13th to golf in the Liberty Classic charity tournament to support Parkinson's.

You and a friend can play with him and hear some great stories of his playing and coaching days.

Today during my show we will auction off a two-some to play with Peterson. He'll join me on air at 2:20 to talk about his battle with Parkinson's and to share a few stories.

If you want to bid on the golf package you can call 780.426.8326 starting at 2 p.m.

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 A View from GP
July 18 2012, 12:26PM
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I don’t know if this is a comparable, but I’ll offer it up anyway.

Up here in Grande Prairie, we’re stuck with the Canada Games Arena. It was built in the early-1990s, in the lead-up to the 1995 Canada Winter Games. Don’t know how much it cost – I didn’t pay much attention that sort of stuff back then – but suffice it to say it was built with a significant about of municipal and provincial funding, as well as some money chipped in from the feds, presumably because it was for a “national event.” (not sure if the feds contributed at all).

The story of the planning for the Canada Games Arena – and, more to the point, the cost-cutting and corner-cutting - has become part of local folklore. And, almost everyone leans towards “Gee, I wish they’d spent more on it,” than “Gee, I’m glad they cut corners like they did.”

What kind of corners did the project planners cut to meet budget?

Well, let’s start with the small stuff first. No press box.

That’s right – the planners of an arena that was be christened on national TV (CBC) for two weeks didn’t figure a media centre (or even a press box) was a key item in the plans. There’s a story that still floats around town –it may be true; it also may be apocryphal – that when the CBC’s set-up people came to tour the facility right before the 1995 Games, they were generally impressed with the facility until they asked the tour guide to show them where the press box was. Legend has it that they were met with blank stares, but also some vague assurances that “something was in the works” (meanwhile, a mad scramble ensued and a quick plan sprang into action that saw a corner sponsors-only VIP room converted to a broadcast centre/press box).

A formal press box – with desks, chairs and power outlets for laptops – wasn’t built at the arena until 2004, about two weeks before the Royal Bank Cup Junior A championship was hosted here. Between 1995 and 2004, local media were invited to sit in the stands to cover GP Storm games, as the corner room hosted an awkward combination of VIP-sponsors swilling booze and the public-address/scorekeeping staff for Storm games. And all this because the original planners either were unwilling (or unaware) of the value of spending about $50,000 to build a press box (I think the press box built in advance of the RBC cost about 80-grand, although it also included a VIP lounge and a box for the PA announcer and game-night crew).

Then there’s the parking. The arena’s located right smack-dab in the middle of downtown. In the heyday of the Storm, when they were regularly drawing 2,000 actual fans to games (instead of the 2,000 mythical fans they claim to draw now), parking was not fun. That’s because there was a lot built with about 300 stalls for the arena. If you didn’t snag one of those for a game or concert, you either parked in a staff lot for a nearby business or you walked a long ways. A parkade would have been a good idea.

But no mistake or shortfall has been lamented more than the CGA’s lack of “end-seating.” If you’re not familiar with that phrase, it’s simply the sections of bleachers in a typical hockey arena that are situated at either end of the rink (i.e. behind the net). The Canada Games Arena doesn’t have seating at either end of the rink. As it stands right now, it seats around 2,500 people for a hockey game (and around 4,000 for a concert). I’m not sure if end-seating was ever part of the original plans for the building but, nearly 20 years later, it’s generally agreed among many in the community that the lack of end seating was the biggest design oversight/corner-cut of the project and we’re paying dearly for it now.

Ten years ago or so, a group from the Canadian Curling Association toured the CGA to scout out future host sites for the Scott Tournament of Hearts national women’s curling championship. Conventional wisdom was that GP had everything it needed to host the event – active volunteer base, rabid curling fans, lots of local business money. But then the CCA folks walked into the arena and discovered the lack of end seating. Such seating is a must for big curling events and not just because of the big crowds – it’s better for TV that way.

The Scott ended up being handed to Prince George. The CGA has since hosted the Ford Women’s World Curling Championship (in 2006) but to date, nothing of its size or scale has been back, probably because of the facility’s shortcomings.

And, in the years since then, Grande Prairie residents have watched all of the good concert shows go to nearby Dawson Creek, B.C., a town that’s less than half the size of GP but built a state-of-the-art arena (the Encana Centre) that has a full bowl of bleachers. Believe me, losing out to Dawson Creek and Fort St. John on anything is about as humbling as it gets in GP.

It’s also generally believed that GP’s chances of getting a Western Hockey League team have been scuttled by the lack of an adequate bowl of seats. Cory Clouston, who coached the Ottawa Senators but got his start as the coach/GM of the GP Storm, said the CGA was a perfect WHL barn ... except for the number of seats and wondered why it couldn’t have been built with 1,500 more.

Suffice it to say, there are long-term consequences that happen when you cut corners to save a few million bucks. The Canada Games Arena obviously isn’t an NHL barn, so obviously there are economies of scale at play here, but like I said earlier, there no one in GP celebrating the few million bucks cut out of the CGA’s construction budget 20 years ago.

Spend the money. Build it right the first time. You won’t regret it.

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#2 Bushed
July 18 2012, 01:03PM
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"Even Steve Tambellini thinks you are taking too long to make a decision."

Hilarious, Gregor. I'm still chuckling.

Classic.

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#3 Dean Belanger
July 18 2012, 02:00PM
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@A View from GP

A View from GP

that is easily one of the best posts I have EVER seen on any fan board. Well done.

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#4 Puritania
July 18 2012, 06:42PM
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Someone should mention to Kerry Diotte how city council falls all over themselves, to give themselves raises with taxpayer money next time he wants to be the center of attention and pretend he is the defender of the people.

I'd like to slap that condescending face off his head.

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#5 Wanye
July 18 2012, 01:14PM
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GREEN ARENA GREEN ARENA GREEN ARENA

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#6 DK0
July 18 2012, 11:39AM
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I was a big fan of this speech by Mandel:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150964510552523

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#7 Oilcruzer
July 18 2012, 12:03PM
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Councillors are councillors because they aren't smart enough (generally) to run a business.

Only a moron defers construction for 5 years in hopes of reducing costs.

The "best" councillor becomes mayor. Decore was the exception - Mandel may be as well.

With so many clowns making decisions, it's no wonder this is dragging out.

Let's see - a $35M question on a potential of $1.5 B of tax revenue - plus residual increases in local property values - yielding other taxable benefits from economic stimulus. I wonder if it's worth the added $35M... geee...

(Un-freaking-believable)

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#8 knobby
July 18 2012, 01:01PM
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Is anyone actually surprised with all the hubbub? It serves Edmonton right for all the polarizing pettiness. When you put anything in the hands of pathetic self-engrossed politicians you know they are going to maximize every opportunity to yap.

I just hope the voters of Edmonton remember who were the flies in the ointment during the next civic election. Katerina just looks like a prick even before he opens his mouth.

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#9 Zamboni Driver
July 18 2012, 03:53PM
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@Get on with it

These cuts are actually the smartest thing the City could do.

Cutting out the extras that make exactly one person, in the entire world, money.

Why in the world should tax dollars go to build the Oilers STORE?! See above rant with respect to West Edmonton Mall.

Batman wants a store. He can darned well build it himself.

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#10 Stocc
July 18 2012, 04:10PM
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Wanye wrote:

GREEN ARENA GREEN ARENA GREEN ARENA

The 1dollarteetimes.com Green Arena

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#11 seanjohn
July 18 2012, 04:58PM
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Zambonie Driver: 'I mean, the City and Province both built West Edmonton Mall and allow the people running their businesses there to pay rent and keep all the the money, right?

No? Oh it was a couple of rich dudes that did that?

Huh.'

a couple of rich dudes that built WEM with Alberta Treasurey Branch money, then claimed bankrupcy and changed the company name overnight.(remember Triple 5?)'

Alberta got taken to the cleaners on WEM. At least with this project, we are paying and we know it. its our building, our team, our iconic Taj Mahal.

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#12 yawto
July 18 2012, 11:28AM
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Hopefully this barrage of fist overall picks results in some fist round action this spring.

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#13 Condensed Milk Chugger
July 18 2012, 11:34AM
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I completely agree with your arena stance. The wavering between city council and the Katz group has been going on for what, 5 years now? At this pace, we'll see ground broken on the new arena in Enoch in 2020. Both sides have made (and will make future) concessions, so they might as well expedite the process to allow for the arena to be built for a reasonable timeframe. I don't want to see too many more sketches or renderings. Just the real thing coming to fruition.

Oh, and off topic, but Brent Peterson's brother was my BLAW prof.

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#14 Archaeologuy
July 18 2012, 11:34AM
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I hope Robin turns his cost saving tweets into a full fledged article.

Gold. Pure Gold...Not the arena, too expensive, they can make it out of recycled pizza boxes found in the trash bin outside the media catwalk at RX1.

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#15 David S
July 18 2012, 11:44AM
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http://twilight.ponychan.net/chan/files/src/134206285479.gif

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#16 -30-
July 18 2012, 11:46AM
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Thank you Jason! I think all that most of us want is a fair and balanced presentation from the media unlike what we get from Messrs. Stouffer and Tencer who obviously have an agenda.

Katz doesn't need to say a word as long as his paid mouthpieces speak for him.

You continue to be the class of sports media in Edmonton!

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#17 etownman
July 18 2012, 12:15PM
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Jason I don't have any issues with your article! They need to get this done!

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#18 LoDog
July 18 2012, 12:25PM
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I thought in one of your previous articles it was stated the MSI for this year was already earmarked for projects so any arena funding would have to come out of future allotments.

I could have dreamt it though.

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#19 Quicksilver ballet
July 18 2012, 12:25PM
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If you ask a billionaire which of his billions were the most satisfying, he usually responds by saying "The next one".

Let us all bow before him and kiss the ring on the hand of Rexall Sports and Entertainment.

The house that Daryl built, was there ever any doubt that this was going to get done?

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#20 VMR
July 18 2012, 12:30PM
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They did plan for cost overruns.

They said up front the budget would be $450 million and if the plans went over they'd scale back the design. Once construction starts the construction firm handles any overruns. Any talk of not accepting cutbacks to the design isnt a part of the original plan.

"The maximum cost of new arena is $450 million and the building will be owned by the City of Edmonton."

http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/projects_redevelopment/agreement-framework.aspx

"7. Who will pay for cost overruns? Who will pay the cost of financing construction while the arena is being built? The framework agreement caps design and construction of the arena at $450 million. The City has factored the cost of borrowing for construction into all its cost and revenue projections"

http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/projects_redevelopment/arena-funding-faq.aspx#26755

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#21 The Soup Fascist
July 18 2012, 12:33PM
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Thanks DKO for posting an impassioned and intelligent speech from the Mayor.

Translation: Enough with the bullship!

Three coucillors still voting against it. Tony Caterina, a Northlands board member (shocker) who also wanted to keep the Muni open - wonderful, obviously a "visionary".

Kerry Diotte another Northlands board member. What a prince this guy is. The "victim" of an alleged "sting op" for drunk driving. Surely, an EPS member was pouring double scotches down his gullet.

And Linda Sloan - proud Ontarian. And closet Leafs fan. (I made the last part up, not sure if she likes the Leafs or not) - but certainly explains her opposition.

Point is there are way too many positions taken for self-serving reasons. Kudos to the mayor for speaking up and showing leadership. Unfortunately with some councillors among this bunch, it is akin to "hearding cats".

I doff my chapeau to Mayor Mandel.

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#22 laughing pug
July 18 2012, 01:20PM
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AVFGP - that was a solid comparison.

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#23 Giggsunited
July 18 2012, 01:27PM
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Jason,

My father was diagnosed with Parkinson's in the mid 90's, a few years close to retirement. Every year goes by my father is slowly loosing all motor functions. He lost his license this past June and struggles to get in more then 6 holes of golf, his passion.Sorry for the depressing post but after I saw Petersens video last fall I showed it to my dad. It was very inspirational and showed that there is progress being made through the Parkinson's fight. Today we follow and look up to the people like Petersen who make a difference. Please send him our thank you's and let him know how much we appreciate and look up to him as the fight for Parkinson's will come to an end!

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#24 Dman09
July 18 2012, 01:28PM
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A View from GP wrote:

I don’t know if this is a comparable, but I’ll offer it up anyway.

Up here in Grande Prairie, we’re stuck with the Canada Games Arena. It was built in the early-1990s, in the lead-up to the 1995 Canada Winter Games. Don’t know how much it cost – I didn’t pay much attention that sort of stuff back then – but suffice it to say it was built with a significant about of municipal and provincial funding, as well as some money chipped in from the feds, presumably because it was for a “national event.” (not sure if the feds contributed at all).

The story of the planning for the Canada Games Arena – and, more to the point, the cost-cutting and corner-cutting - has become part of local folklore. And, almost everyone leans towards “Gee, I wish they’d spent more on it,” than “Gee, I’m glad they cut corners like they did.”

What kind of corners did the project planners cut to meet budget?

Well, let’s start with the small stuff first. No press box.

That’s right – the planners of an arena that was be christened on national TV (CBC) for two weeks didn’t figure a media centre (or even a press box) was a key item in the plans. There’s a story that still floats around town –it may be true; it also may be apocryphal – that when the CBC’s set-up people came to tour the facility right before the 1995 Games, they were generally impressed with the facility until they asked the tour guide to show them where the press box was. Legend has it that they were met with blank stares, but also some vague assurances that “something was in the works” (meanwhile, a mad scramble ensued and a quick plan sprang into action that saw a corner sponsors-only VIP room converted to a broadcast centre/press box).

A formal press box – with desks, chairs and power outlets for laptops – wasn’t built at the arena until 2004, about two weeks before the Royal Bank Cup Junior A championship was hosted here. Between 1995 and 2004, local media were invited to sit in the stands to cover GP Storm games, as the corner room hosted an awkward combination of VIP-sponsors swilling booze and the public-address/scorekeeping staff for Storm games. And all this because the original planners either were unwilling (or unaware) of the value of spending about $50,000 to build a press box (I think the press box built in advance of the RBC cost about 80-grand, although it also included a VIP lounge and a box for the PA announcer and game-night crew).

Then there’s the parking. The arena’s located right smack-dab in the middle of downtown. In the heyday of the Storm, when they were regularly drawing 2,000 actual fans to games (instead of the 2,000 mythical fans they claim to draw now), parking was not fun. That’s because there was a lot built with about 300 stalls for the arena. If you didn’t snag one of those for a game or concert, you either parked in a staff lot for a nearby business or you walked a long ways. A parkade would have been a good idea.

But no mistake or shortfall has been lamented more than the CGA’s lack of “end-seating.” If you’re not familiar with that phrase, it’s simply the sections of bleachers in a typical hockey arena that are situated at either end of the rink (i.e. behind the net). The Canada Games Arena doesn’t have seating at either end of the rink. As it stands right now, it seats around 2,500 people for a hockey game (and around 4,000 for a concert). I’m not sure if end-seating was ever part of the original plans for the building but, nearly 20 years later, it’s generally agreed among many in the community that the lack of end seating was the biggest design oversight/corner-cut of the project and we’re paying dearly for it now.

Ten years ago or so, a group from the Canadian Curling Association toured the CGA to scout out future host sites for the Scott Tournament of Hearts national women’s curling championship. Conventional wisdom was that GP had everything it needed to host the event – active volunteer base, rabid curling fans, lots of local business money. But then the CCA folks walked into the arena and discovered the lack of end seating. Such seating is a must for big curling events and not just because of the big crowds – it’s better for TV that way.

The Scott ended up being handed to Prince George. The CGA has since hosted the Ford Women’s World Curling Championship (in 2006) but to date, nothing of its size or scale has been back, probably because of the facility’s shortcomings.

And, in the years since then, Grande Prairie residents have watched all of the good concert shows go to nearby Dawson Creek, B.C., a town that’s less than half the size of GP but built a state-of-the-art arena (the Encana Centre) that has a full bowl of bleachers. Believe me, losing out to Dawson Creek and Fort St. John on anything is about as humbling as it gets in GP.

It’s also generally believed that GP’s chances of getting a Western Hockey League team have been scuttled by the lack of an adequate bowl of seats. Cory Clouston, who coached the Ottawa Senators but got his start as the coach/GM of the GP Storm, said the CGA was a perfect WHL barn ... except for the number of seats and wondered why it couldn’t have been built with 1,500 more.

Suffice it to say, there are long-term consequences that happen when you cut corners to save a few million bucks. The Canada Games Arena obviously isn’t an NHL barn, so obviously there are economies of scale at play here, but like I said earlier, there no one in GP celebrating the few million bucks cut out of the CGA’s construction budget 20 years ago.

Spend the money. Build it right the first time. You won’t regret it.

I'm from GP and I can agree with everything here. Not to mention now all the surrounding parking areas for business's which are closed at night are charging parking fees. Pay for parking in lots that are completely empty after 6pm because that makes people happy. I for one would be insanely happy if we could upgrade and get a WHL team. I would likely get season tickets to that level of play. There is a lot of money here in GP and I would love to see a new arena that could at least be compared to the Encana center.

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#25 Lochenzo
July 18 2012, 01:35PM
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I have no problem with the public funding of the building. Perhaps the city needs to do a better job of showing the taxpayers the due diligence they have performed and how this will benefit the city long term.

We all had a good look at the Staples Center with the Kings playoff run. The Staples Center has revitalized a part of LA that was dead. All of that pedestrian traffic from the sporting events, concerts, etc had poured mountains of cash into the neighborhood.

I envision a beautiful state of the art sports bar located just adjacent to the arena. If the game is sold out, which it always is, I'd be more than happy to head down to the bar.

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#26 Zamboni Driver
July 18 2012, 01:37PM
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Bashing of City Council by Stauffer-fans is hilarious.

Dear fellow members of Bobby's "Took 8 years to get your B.A."...THEY PASSED THE FRICKIN' MOTION.

What exactly more do you want?

Your superhero, deep below the depths of Gotham is doing nothing but whining about the pace...meanwhile has paid zip. Will pay rent. And reap all the income. Because that happens all the time.

I mean, the City and Province both built West Edmonton Mall and allow the people running their businesses there to pay rent and keep all the the money, right?

No? Oh it was a couple of rich dudes that did that?

Huh.

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#27 toprightcorner
July 18 2012, 01:46PM
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Some opposed, some with key positions, can't really give any solid reasons why they are opposed and that drives me crazy. Last night on Millhouse's show was the president of the Canadian Taxpayers Ass. The guy was a moron. He would not answer any of Dans questions other that the regular political run around. He said he knows for a fact that if the city did not help with the cost that Katz would still build it downtown and therefore his only reason for not having government support was because they dont have to.

Sounds like a guy who waits for his Neighbours to finally build the fence on his own so he doesn't have to pay for it! Just like my Neighbours!

Basically, why should the city support it if Katz will build it himself and the city can still get all of the advantages without the cost. That makes no sense. If Katz did build it all privately I doubt it would be downtown. His land he owns is much more valuable using it for other things and he could get much cheaper land on the edge of the city like the River Cree (why do you think they do all of their press conferences there). He would still sell out every night. He wants downtown because not only will it help the city but so the would help pay for it.

This moron (not because he is opposed, he just is based on his interview) says the Oilers are the 6th most profitable team in the league and does not need financial aid. See, a moron! The oilers have one of the most ticket revenue in the league, big difference from profit. 28 other teams get consession, parking and other event revenue that adds to their profit. Revenue from 41 games does not mean profit.

The funny thing is that he thinks he knows how much profit the Oilers make. Nobody knows, it's private info. Does he think he knows yet the NHLPA would give anything to know how profitable the teams are?

This idiot (a name earned, not just given) cannot come up with a valid reason to be opposed of the arena deal and I have not heard anyone come up with solid reasons to date. But the average Joe who is not a hockey fan take this invalid or incorrect info from the opposition and take it for truth.

I think the biggest issue is that Katz is handling this like any other business deal he has done instead of trying to relate and connect with the people in Edmonton. This could have been done a year year ago if the did things differently.

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#28 admiralmark
July 18 2012, 01:50PM
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Hate to say it but the time has come for Katz to stand up and say he will cover the cost overrun. Cover it by taking a piece of the ticket tax until that debt is paid off. Problem solved. If Katz would stand up and offer an option by coming halfway it would go along way and be the tipping point in getting this thing done. Negotiate Damn it!

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#29 The Soup Fascist
July 18 2012, 01:53PM
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@ Zamboni Driver

~Yes what this city needs is less guys who are successful and invest money within it, providing jobs. What a wonderful place it would be if we could get all these capitalist businessmen out of here.~

Think Greece, but with eight months of winter. Yes Katz has a lot of money. Get over it.

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#30 bdiddy18
July 18 2012, 01:54PM
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First time I've heard about the Grande Prairie experience... I think it should be shared on all sites and newspapers. Excellent example of how forcing a budget onto a building has its consequences.

That being said however, I am also growing tired of business (looks like the same as govt) of not being true to their OWN forecasts and their OWN numbers.

I thought the stigma of public office was to never be on budget, never efficient, never being proactive.

The myth out there is that the Corporate World does it right. Well........ uh so what happen?

If you've set a project at a number, is it not your job to stick to it. Isn't that what we slam gov't about - their "hard line" is never anything but a conversation starter.

I'd like to see a true collaborative partnership. Not just butting heads until we can all agree to the lowest common denominator.

If the costs are rising, then the relationship should change. If the private owner wants more funding then create a profit sharing agreement until the gov't is paid back for the extra costs. If this is truly about being "VISIONARIES" then be bold and step outside of Memorandum of Understandings and build a bonafide partnership, one that allows the Oilers and the City of Edmonton to prosper.

If costs are unpredictable - then so is the amount of revenue being generated. Come to a percentage agreement then! not forecasted budgets.

if a CBA was worked out with NHL and NHLPA where costs and revenue were tied together to determine salaries..... I don't understand how the Oilers and the City can't think along those same lines...with fluctuating scales on how the City could be paid back based on revenue and expenses.

your trying to build a more modern evolution of the Team and City - then please challenge yourselves more than to use the same old traditional frameworks that clearly is pissing everyone off. Nobody is currently being Bold they are all playing it safe within the roles they represent.

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#31 Get on with it
July 18 2012, 01:57PM
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I was against the public funding of the arena from the beginning; just way too many examples in the world right now of entities spending beyond their means!

Now that it looks like it’s inevitable, I'm flabbergasted they are planning on cutting items that can generate revenue to meet their 450 million budget, i.e. 1/2 the parking, and cutting down on room for restaurants.

Really, who is running this show?

If you are going to break the bank, don't cut back on items that can increase revenues. My kids can make better financial decisions!

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#32 nunyour
July 18 2012, 02:04PM
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what's the rush? they allready have an arena to play in.

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#33 Lochenzo
July 18 2012, 02:06PM
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I understand that past government ventures into private industry have not worked. But like any business, you have to manage it well and make good decisions to make this work. And there are many little decisions that need to be made to contribute to the success to this project.

For instance, one big challenge will be traffic congestion. Being stuck in traffic will take from the experience. Offering competent public transport system will help assuage some of the pressure. Being located several blocks away form the LRT stations, a solution will have to be offered as people will be reluctant to walk so far in the winter cold. A warm bus station next to the arena offering shuttle service to the LRT stations would help. Maybe offer a well priced arena access pass to sell along side season tickets/mini-packs that is exclusively for games.

You would also have the downtown work crowd that will stay downtown during weekday game days. Make sure you license sufficient food venues to cater to this captive crowd. Profitable businesses means steady income tax streams for the city.

This can be done and done very well.

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#34 VMR
July 18 2012, 02:43PM
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Of course the first thing they're going to look to cut is things that generate extra revenue. Katz gets all the revenue and all he's doing is paying rent, why should he get extra revenue sources if it's costing the taxpayers more?

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Way off topic, but if I win a spot on specs deck I'm bringing "Team Fruition" hats and shirts for all.

You are the only person that uses this word Gregor and it's damn good one.

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The only thing I don't get is how much overages is there going to be once a contract is signed. It was my understanding that you take this project at "x" amount and you are responsible for any of the overages.

Granted if they forgot the scoreboard in the original drawings then something like that would fall back on the City/Katz, but everything else the builder would cover.

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#37 Wäx Män Riley
July 18 2012, 03:32PM
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@A View from GP

↑This↑

I don't completely agree with the deal as stated, i.e. Katz getting the entire profits, but the last thing I want to see is a penny-pinched facility.

The way it looks, we will all be paying taxes for this, and I would be much happier paying those knowing it was done properly, as opposed to still paying, and left wanting.

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#38 Wäx Män Riley
July 18 2012, 03:41PM
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nunyour wrote:

what's the rush? they allready have an arena to play in.

The rush is that the longer it takes, the more it will cost.

Had they done this 3 years ago, construction costs would have been way less expensive than they are now.

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#39 Dman09
July 18 2012, 03:58PM
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Wäx Män Riley wrote:

↑This↑

I don't completely agree with the deal as stated, i.e. Katz getting the entire profits, but the last thing I want to see is a penny-pinched facility.

The way it looks, we will all be paying taxes for this, and I would be much happier paying those knowing it was done properly, as opposed to still paying, and left wanting.

No city tax increase will happen, the mayor has publicly stated that. The only taxes that will rise will be down town but that will be due to the increase in property value that all the new develop will create ie. your property will be worth more.

People please get the facts right.

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#40 Smokey
July 18 2012, 04:02PM
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I know I`m in the minority about fans against public funding against the arena. Its not that I am naive that it does not provide economic viability to the team nor a boost to the economy long term. I just believe government expenditure and spending is too large as it is.

Saying that the arena is going to be built and I am wondering why private and corporate dollars in a resourse rich community could not be used instead of taking from a the tax base.

Can anyone give me reason why private companies could not be involved in the process to build the rink. Why do private citizens have to pay with their tax dollars.

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#41 michael
July 18 2012, 04:13PM
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http://www.joconl.com/article/id24230

The City initialy budgeted 48 million dollars for the Edmonton Art Gallery. Final cost 88 million dollars. 27 million paid by the province. That folks was another 40 million dollars paid out by the City/ It went from a 21 million dollar investment to a 61 million dollar investment on the Part of the City. Thats 200% over budget. 200% is what the City spent on a building that had revenue of 1.2 million last year and a net profit of 160,000+/-. Ludicrous. We will never ever recoup any money from this investment.

Whereas council is niggling over an 8% cost overrun on the the Arena. What????? Am I missing something. They built the Arts Gallery at all costs. Yet 35 million dollars on a 450 million dollar project is seen as exorbitant. Who the frak was on council when that cost overun was being allowed to grow. Where was Linda Sloan then? Or Tony Caterina?

Get real. Homes are built everday in this city and if the builder see's that he is going to be 8% overbudget due to labour costs and materials does he say stop building? If I build a house and its only 8% overbudget I wouldn't be asking to take out the toilets and the flooring.

8% thats what this arguement is about. Please. Grow up. If you want to score political points with me argue over something more meaningful. Like how are we going pay for a new sanitary landfill? You think 485 million is alot of money wait to you see the bill for that one on your tax notices in a few years.8% is not a hill to die on. Write the cheque and give Edmonton something to be proud of for a generation to come.

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#42 rubbertrout
July 18 2012, 04:17PM
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Bananas are a tasty and nutritious treat.

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#43 The Soup Fascist
July 18 2012, 04:25PM
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@ Smokey

I agree that Government spending at ALL levels should come under scrutiny. I have a very rudimentary understanding of economics and municipal taxation, so I hope I am not talking out of my a$$. However, as a taxpayer I would rather see my money spent on a building that will generate more money for the city (in increased property taxes from increased downtown valuations and new construction and jobs that a downtown arena will almost certainly bring) than an Art Gallery (which I will likely not visit) or the 23rd Ave Albatross, er ... overpass. Plus an iconic, original landmark that gets shown across North America 40 plus nights a year cannot be a bad thing for a city.

I have been to Staples Center and the "LA LIVE" area in Los Angeles for NHL and NBA games. If you have any knowledge of LA, that area, which is now an entertainment hub was previously an Urban eyesore. What a difference!

The issue is that there are very few privately funded NHL arenas that have been successful. Most models are some form of public-private partnership. Municipalities and governments must be competitive and offer incentives in attracting business. Switching industries, look at the royalty changes in Alberta a few years ago. Much of the O/G money that was previously a slam dunk to be spent in Alberta, went to Saskatchewan who maintained a more industry-friendly rate. All "Our Fair Share" did was get us a bigger piece of a much smaller pie.

Smokey, while I agree with your sentiment that Governments spend your money and my money, to me this is a more prudent expenditure than much of the fluff we pay for. IMO.

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#44 The Beaker
July 18 2012, 04:25PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

These cuts are actually the smartest thing the City could do.

Cutting out the extras that make exactly one person, in the entire world, money.

Why in the world should tax dollars go to build the Oilers STORE?! See above rant with respect to West Edmonton Mall.

Batman wants a store. He can darned well build it himself.

Really? So the restaurants and parking are Katz exclusive items? Each retail/restaurant slot generates tax revenue. Cutting revenue generating items to cut costs make zero sense.

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#45 michael
July 18 2012, 04:29PM
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@Max Riley. The same factors that saw the Arts Gallery come in 40 million dollars overbudget will soon be reality again in Edmonton's construction sector in the next 6 months to a year. Its not going to get cheaper. saying we are going to have a gauranteed building cost contarct is like saying pigs will fly. PCL didn't get to be one of the worlds largest builders because they gauranteed what they couldn't deliver.

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#46 Dman09
July 18 2012, 04:34PM
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michael wrote:

@Max Riley. The same factors that saw the Arts Gallery come in 40 million dollars overbudget will soon be reality again in Edmonton's construction sector in the next 6 months to a year. Its not going to get cheaper. saying we are going to have a gauranteed building cost contarct is like saying pigs will fly. PCL didn't get to be one of the worlds largest builders because they gauranteed what they couldn't deliver.

except the area district will create a lot more money than an art gallery.

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#47 michael
July 18 2012, 04:37PM
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Cutting back on the amount of toilets? my wife looked at me and was stupified. She has been to rexall and the line ups from hell have certainly been ingrained into her mind. Not one of those areas I would cut. My vote is for more washrooms. And Restaurants. And a casino. And a Winter garden with restaurants and shopping 18/7/365. Inviting and friendly and world class.

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#48 Dave240
July 18 2012, 04:38PM
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Jason: I was listening to your interview with Kerry Diotte this afternoon and you brought up the topic of cost overruns, which neither of you had an answer for.

I know when the Henday was built (a bit different as it was a P3) the contractor had to cover any cost overruns. That was in the contract. Gov't of Ab would pay them $X and not a penny more. If they couldn't do it on budget, they had to eat the overruns.

I had heard that when the arena went to tender, they would expect a similar deal. Whoever wins the bid must stick to the $450M. Anything over that, they have to eat.

Is that no longer part of the deal or does Coun. Diotte just not know what he is talking about?

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#49 Quicksilver ballet
July 18 2012, 04:51PM
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Perhaps for all these possible cost overruns, Daryl Katz could offer to be our butler for one week, for every Edmonton area resident.

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#50 michael
July 18 2012, 04:53PM
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@Dman. Exactly my point regarding the differences between the arena development and the Art Gallery. councilors were willing to spend 200% more on a building that built for the public good. The Arena will serve the the pulic on many levels.Those who stood up and argued for the Art Gallery cannot in good faith argue that the Arena development is for one man. The City will own the Arena. The arena and its adjacent developments will serve the public good in ways that the Art Gallery cannot.

I live in Highlands and the City is buildingg a brand new library. If it comes 8% over budget is there going to be a hue and cry from Linda Sloan etal? Should we remove the toilets from the building. Use cheaper construction materials? Less rebar? Less cement? Buy no books?

8-10 % overbudget. I can live with that.

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