Sweet Jordan Eberle’s flaxen mane – the distant future shall soon be upon us! Still think its 1974? Peep this video of Quadrocopters that have been programmed to play table tennis with one another. As you watch these things pinging back and forth like a robotic Forrest Gump, ask yourself if we really aren’t on the verge of a Brave New World.
Soon enough Terminator and Robocop will be for sale in your local Best Buy and we will all be complaining about it." A new Terminator has been made? I just bought the old Terminator at Christmas and it was twice the price!"
That’s the future for you we suppose. Speaking of pondering the distant future now, the Downtown Arena debate is closing in on a key deadline and needs all our help.
D-DAY CLOSING IN
Those in favour of the Downtown Arena may or may not realize that the next milestone in the project going forward is the April 6 meeting of City Council. Though the bulk of the negotiations between the Katz Group and City officials have occured behind closed doors, some Councillors have complained publicly that they do not have enough information to consider at this point to approve a deal.
And so the negotiations and posturing continue amongst well meaning folk who all believe they are acting in the best interests of the City of Edmonton. At the same time a group of increasingly vocal critics have been promoting their contention that not a single cent of public money should be put into the project.
And is so often the case, those opposed to the arena are making themselves heard while the silent majority – 84% of OilersNation readers believe Edmonton will get a new arena – continue to be just that.
Silent and the majority.
You have to wonder if we will get involved at some point in the process.
THE BIG PICTURE
There is a larger issue in play than "where are the Oilers going to be playing when they finally make the playoffs in 2019?" Really we are contemplating the kind of City in which we want to live in the not so distant future.
The proposed Arena represents a rare opportunity to transform downtown and reap the benefits for generations to come. A Downtown Arena would become the gathering place for tens of thousands of Edmontonians a night – hundereds of nights per year. This will lead to many more projects in the surrounding area and finally Edmonton will be building upwards and not outwards.
That’s value even non hockey fans should be able to appreciate.
At the same time it will secure the Oilers remaining in Edmonton for the long term. Think it would be hard to move the team now? Try putting a new arena in place that is funded with a partial loan from the City. The Oilers will be here long enough that Wanye Jr’s kids* will be able to swoon over the stickhandling skills of Jordan Eberle IV well into the next millenium.
If the Oilers are to hit their target of having a new building when the current lease expires in 2014, the time to make a decision is now. You may think ‘who cares about the Oilers deadlines? They just want to distract us all down the stretch from the hockey on the ice. We can build it any old time.’
Consider the fact that with the recession coming to a close and the Alberta economy on the upswing, there is real risk of skyrocketing construction costs. As more and more large scale construction projects get the green light, the competition for materials and labour increases and the cost of the Downtown Arena rises accordingly.
Securing lower construction costs now is of interest to all concerned – the Katz Group, the City and potential tenants in the surrounding District. If public funds may get involved, then getting the arena at the cheapest price tag possible should be in everyone’s best interest.
*Due in 20f4
A CALL TO ARMS
The clip above is a bang on take by Rick Mercer about how us young folks don’t ever voice our opinions and consequently don’t even appear on the radar of politicians. The Downtown Arena issue is one of the hottest political topics amongst young Edmontonians in the past 25 years and yet most of us are content to complain about it on blogs or over the proverbial water cooler – but would never dream of contacting anyone involved in the process.
Figuring out a way to fund this project that is fair to all Albertans needs to be determined quickly and the construction needs to get underway soon. Or it needs to be put to bed and we can all begin the process of moving to Winnipeg – who looks to be getting their team back any day now.
So If you think that the arena should go forward, let someone know. If you think that public funds shouldn’t be used to glue a single gold tile to the new concourse floor – shoot someone an email. Shock the hell out of everyone and get involved.
- Call 311 and let ’em have it via the old telephone.
- Take your support to the next level by writing the Edmonton Journal – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Do the impossible and email City Council – email@example.com – and tell them what you want.
The arena we might get built just might be our own.