Not much left to do this season but complain about everything and everyone now is there? Behold a Tuesday airing of grievances and holding the feet of an Edmonton Media Legend to the fire.
ARENA UPDATE #3,506
“After years of debate, at least nine of 13 council members still aren’t ready to make a decision on the $450 million proposed downtown arena, saying they want more information before they cast their final vote on a deal.”
“While critics argue team owner Daryl Katz should pay the entire construction cost, one report calls this “difficult” because the $23-million annual mortgage payment would be too high. Katz has agreed to put $100 million into the arena.
The city envisions covering the cost of borrowing $125 million with a ticket tax, but Katz recently told Mayor Stephen Mandel that he still hasn’t accepted this idea.
Another $125 million loan is intended to be paid out of dedicated property taxes from surrounding development in a 20-year community revitalization levy (CRL).
However, the newly released map of the boundaries of the CRL show it would cover 29 blocks around the arena, which some councillors feel could put too much of the future downtown taxes into one project.
The question of how to raise the remaining $100 million hasn’t been resolved.”
Does anyone else bleed from the eyes when looking at this same old rhetoric for what has to be the millionth article in a row? When is “progress made” that “provides information” and ends the “49th consecutive year of negotiations?
When Rexall Place II is finally built and opened City Councillors should immediately begin exploratory work on Rexall III – due to open at the puck drop of the 2085-86 season. The only thing that we have seen that takes longer than Edmonton City Council ‘gathering information’ is Steve Tambellini ‘assessing the lineup of the Edmonton Oilers.’
In both cases it is extremely painful to watch.
We suppose that the key phrase to remember is that "negotiations continue behind closed doors." We have to imagine that these talks are infinitely more entertaining than what is being leaked to the press – which is essentially nothing – and that progress is actually being made. There are a good many moving parts to the deal and we bet that neither party will sign off on any one issue untill the other items have been negotiated.
Hopefully the distance between "not having enough information" and "here is your new arena Edmonton" isn’t as long as it would appear in print. In the meantime we continue to watch AHL hockey in an aging facility, while the empty parking lots in Downtown Edmonton thaw themselves out from a record winter of snow revealing a nearly equal amount of dirt and sand.
Where is the hope?
One other noteworthy development from the weekend, was that Minister Rona Ambrose kept the door open to involvement from the federal government. She said while the Tories would not put any money directly into an arena, she said they would consider infrastructure dollars if the project is a priority for the City and the Province.
We understand politics about as well as we understand "the goings on inside the female mind" but this has to be considered positive news right? "If the project is a priority for the City and the Province" could be politician code talk for "if you put in some dough we will too, if only to look cool at the opening of the arena and to be able to send the Prime Minister."
Yes, yes. Whatever it takes. The federal government of Denmark could make a proposal to partially fund the arena and we would vote in a referendum to succeed from the Dominion within days.
Speaking of selling hope, one has to pity poor Terry Jones over at the Edmonton Sun. At the start of the year, he wrote a great article looking to the start of the 2010-11 season explaining that the Oilers weren’t nearly as bad as the major hockey publications would have you believe. He then followed these kind words with a description of the excitement awaiting the Oilers squadron in anticipation of what would certainly be an exciting year of hockey:
“Make the odds as long as you want. It actually seems to add to the excitement building where fans, who five times knew the thrill of watching a team win the Stanley Cup, can’t wait to begin their first trip up from being as low as you can go to go wherever the newly assembled cast of future stars will take them.
Hope is the No. 1 thing to sell in sports, but it’s not often easy to sell when you are 30th in a 30-team NHL, and predicted to be 30th again.
But has there ever been a last-in-the-league city — at least since this one went into the NHL from the WHA with Wayne Gretzky and all that young talent on training wheels — heading into a season with an “on with the show, this is it” attitude quite like Edmonton this year?”
Poor old Terry. In a City where most MSM folks alternate between dispensing brainwashing propaganda and harsh criticism of the local squad, he put together a very nice article that ends with the idea that the Oilers were the victims of injury in the 2009-10 season and that the staggering number of man games lost to injury would not continue in the year to come.
But then came the money shot:
“With all that in mind, if this team finishes 15th in the Western Conference and 30th overall, this columnist will repeat an offer from Day 1 in the NHL and eat this column at centre ice at Rexall Place with sauerkraut, sour cream and bitter lemon.”
Now we aren’t saying that celebrated Sun Columnist Terry Jones has to eat his article at the center of the ice at Rexall Place – except that is exactly what needs to be done. One shouldn’t make crazy bets with the unwashed masses unless you expect to honor your commitments Sir.
The Oilers are going to finish 30th place – if only because a 31st standing in the league is impossible. Time to plan a delicious meal we think.