January 24 2013 12:21PM
News broke yesterday that the long tortured Edmonton Arena project has been finally been inked with City Council voting 10-3 to approve the deal. Says pumped up Mayor Mandel "At the end of the day, we will see an incredible development downtown that will change the face of the city. It’s 100 per cent. A deal is done. It will be the nicest, most dynamic arena you have ever been in.”
The extra 114 million needed to build it? Pfft. What are you the bank? These government types always move in cloak and daggerian ways. They have some sort of plan it seems. And frankly we don't care if they are waiting on secret money from other levels of government or a mysterious bag of cash left by the North Saskatchewan river with a note that reads "love Pyongyang."
HATERS GONNA HATE
There are a host of vocal haters spitting fire at this entire project. Haters that want nothing built and for us all to continue living in 1970s era Edmonton for all eternity.
Some that feel that public money has no business being involved in a sports arena. Others feel as though we are "handing over a free arena to a billionaire who will fill it full of rich elites who will plot the further subjugation of the masses in their underground sugar mines."
Others still believe that Daryl "Kay-Z" Katz should spend every last dollar he has made on all things Oilers and only when it has completely bankrupted him will he be a worthy owner of the team.
Nonsense. Ignoring all the haters and the questions remaining on this project for the moment we want to thank those involved in this tortured process for getting a deal done.
CIVIC PRIDE GOOD
Mark our words. This arena will be a tremendous boost to the Civic Pride of us average Edmontonians. There are very few projects that could be built in the Capital City that will have this high of a profile, be this transformative to a section of downtown currently best described as "rubble" or that will put 18,000 odd Edmontonians through it several times a week. 1970s Edmonton found a way to get an arena built and so again in 2013. Good on everyone.
Every large scale project requiring tons of money is subject to tons of scrutiny. And no matter what cutting edge design you roll out it will one day be laughed at heartily and then blown into rubble by a younger generation with new fangled ideas. This arena will provide a milestone for the City and is definitely a project we can all point to and say "man 2013-16 sure cleaned up a big part of downtown. And look at how wicked this thing looks. This design will never get dated!"
Continued development prevents stagnation. And Downtown Edmonton looks largely the same as it did 10, 20, 40, years ago. The new condo towers planned and now the arena site will go a long way for us putting a new stamp on a largely stale 1970s skyline.
Yes, when this big beast is built and the lights are turned on, it will be do only good for the City.
The arena project is going to be one of the largest construction projects in Edmonton during the past 25 years. The bulk of this money will be spent with local companies, contractors and suppliers and will employ hundreds of people for the next 4 years on a full time basis.
We recently had a chat with a buddy who is one of the many smaller subcontractors contacted to give rough bids on the arena project. He said that the design isn't finished and they obviously haven't awarded any contracts but that if he does wins his bid his company would see "basically double the earnings for the next four years." It will allow him to increase his staffing levels, presumably post record profits and be involved in a massive project. And he will be one of many companies enjoying this four year boom.
This is all good for Edmonton.
CITY ELDERS GOOD
This has been one of your longer drawn out public-private knockdown battles in Edmonton's history. It has become a rare hot button political topic in a City known for abstaining from debate on virtually all issues. And it has been a very small group of people making the decisions that will affect so many of us.
We would like to thank City Council, the Katz Group and all those involved so far in the project for getting it this far. As someone who is still far too young and not nearly successful enough to participate in matters of this level we can appreciate it has been a lonely, painful and largely thankless job thus far. But those of us that are paying attention are suitably impressed with you old boys and gals.
And we also know that on opening night the good people of Edmonton and Area will flock into the new building, marvel at its many publicly funded bells and whistles, witness the Oilers lose in a heart breaker and will declare the project "a great success." They will heartily congratulate one another and pat themselves on the back for "having been in favour of it all along."
And 40 years from now when we are all fighting over Rexall Place III there will be very few that will say that the Downtown Arena - built by the then long departed City Elders of 2013 - was a waste of money.
All photos mercilessly stolen from the awesome Vintage Edmonton Group on Facebook.
Our pitiful cries to ask you to join our first ever NationDrafts online draft continue. With over $10,000 in prizes to win and a portion of the proceeds going to the MS Bike Tour and the Inner City Children's Program - it is the most fun you can legally have on the internet. Only $20 per team.