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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.