STOP THE INSANITY… AND A BATTLER

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.

  • The Soup Fascist

    @ Zamboni Driver

    The cities negotiations with Katz can certainly be scrutinized. That is fair. But the element you seem to be overlooking is that while revenue from concessions, naming, parking, branding etc do go to Katz via Rexall Sports, there will be a significant uptick to the city in terms of Development and the resulting increase in taxes.

    I would agree that the deal that stands is favorable to Katz. But I have no problem with that. He bucked up $200 mil plus for a business that, while I am sure will turn a decent profit with this rink, also brings a ton of benefit to the city. I know some will disagree, but in reality a large part of our city and many small to mid-size cities are defined by their professional sports teams.

    Do you really think any one would utter the name “Green Bay” without the Packers. If not for the NFL franchise, they are Madison or Kenosha, which are larger and as large respectively in population. I would argue that Edmonton is known in other parts of the world, largely for two reasons, the Oilers and a mall. That may be sad, but it is true. No one knows about our Gallery, or Summer Festivals or River Valley if they don’t google the Edmonton Oilers, or WEM. What do you think it would cost the City of Edmonton Chamber of Commerce to flash the word “Edmonton” every 5 minutes on an ESPN banner, eighty plus nights (and another eighty mornings the next day) a year?

    Edmonton benefits from the Oilers and with a new rink the Oilers will benefit from Edmonton. I am OK with that. I am just tired of people villifying Katz, simply because he is rich. In reality the Oilers would be in serious trouble if the old Ownership group (God Bless them for stepping in and stepping out when they did) was faced with the current floor / cap. That cannot be argued. Let’s get the deal done and get shovels in the ground. We want to be a world class city but can’t get a flipping hockey rink built without getting tripped up over the number of urinals or tiles to be used in the foyer, FFS. Finalize a deal with Katz and move forward building a world class, iconic facility. We as a community need to be better.

    • Zamboni Driver

      Totally agree with you, on all points (other than somehow Katz should be somehow congratulated for buying the team. He was asked to become one of the Copper Jackets…he said no. THOSE guys are to be congratulated. He’s ALREADY making a load of money, and if his staff could figure out a way to get a few players taller than 5-8 and older than 16 maybe he’d even have a playoff gate or two..but I digress).

      My point is the idea that the missing $100 mil (that we keep just saying, “Will come.”) and that cost overruns are of no responsibility to Katz is asinine. That somehow questioning why the single, solitary person set to benefit the most from building a new arena (again, something I’m in favour of) should not be judged or questioned, or told to, you know, actually PAY SOMETHING is anti-Oiler – that’s nuts.

      The City caves and caves and caves….hell, they’re negotiating with and against themselves as far as I can (where IS Bruce Wayne?)

      Finally a point to consider.
      When the province does kick in the money. It’s not $100 million.

      It’s $200 million.

      Do you want your tax money going to the Flames?

      Because it’s going to.
      For sure.

  • The Soup Fascist

    I’m in favor of the Arena but I think Katz got a sweetheart of a deal. I dont think the city should be making it any better for Katz by agreeing to go over the $450 million they agreed to cap the price at. If they have to cut things like parking and an onsite Oilers store that only benefit Katz or things that cut down long term maintenance costs that he’s agreed to pay, that absolutly makes sense on where they should be cutting to get back to $450 million.

  • The Soup Fascist

    @ Zamboni Driver

    In terms of the Oilers Ownership Group, I agree they stepped up when no one else would and are truly heroes in terms of the Oilers history. BUT, I can tell that a friend of mine who was a member of the EIG, indicated it was becoming difficult to sustain and the group was clearly divided. The last cash call brought about significant dysfunction. Katz came along at the right time and has shown he will spend the money required in terms of salary and off-ice costs.

    I realize that within five years of the Oildrum (or whatever) being built, Calgary will be coming hat in hand. Frankly, my tax dollars have been spent in much more foolish ways. I suspect a lottery of some type will be in place or some form of legalized single game betting – though there are several pratfalls with that. I will say however that the Saddledome is 15 years newer than Rexall so they should not get their panties in a bunch just yet.

    If you think Katz should bear more of the costs – I disagree, but fine, you have as many votes as I do. But the city needs to get it done and get the project moving. Watching this debacle, it is the very definition of bureaucracy. Council needs to set up a negotiating committee and give them the responsibility and accountability of closing a deal.

    There is something like $17 Billion in Oilsands projects alone sanctioned and scheduled for the next five years in Alberta. Trades and material costs are going up – not down. Make a deal and move on. Thanks for the discussion.