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."

Its happening.


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.


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.


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.


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    • This is how the arena funding shortfall is supposedly going to be addressed:

      The former City Centre Airport lands is owned by the City. The City, however, lack the expertise and cold hard cash needed to develop the lands, so they are going to sell it. The intended buyer (I forget the name) is an development and planning entity that I believe is linked to the Alberta provincial government – either that or it is just a private development company.

      The price will be above $100M but the arena funding will be derived from the sale of the airport lands, trust me (in actual fact you are trusting my sources as well).

      Keep up the good work, nation.

  • Gerald R. Ford

    Great news. I only wish the supporters had been/were as vocal as the haters. It’s depressing how many short-sighted, close-minded, joyless, grumpy, CHEAPSKATES live in this part of the world.

    HA HA! We win.

  • As many fans, I’m excited! This is a good thing for this city. Don’t matter what the haters say about this deal cause I garuntee that those folks who say they won’t use it and never will, in the end, will end up using it for concerts, other sporting events, community functions,etc. I don’t think a lot of people see the full potential yet in this building and what it means and what it will do.

    Ps. Does anybody know how many seats/the capacity this new crib wil have? I’m hoping it’s around the 19,000 mark

  • book¡e

    The economics around this type of stuff are quite complex. Consider this – how much is Wanye being happy worth? That type of thing is never factored in. Wanye will soon be a billionaire what with his Oodle Noodling and Oilersnationing and once he is a billionaire where do you think he will be hiring 100s of people to act as personal lawn manicurists and platinum shirt taylors? With this arena, it might just be Edmonton. So, there you go, 100’s of long term jobs resting on this just with Wanye.

    In the end, its a ‘gut call’. The risk being that it could be the next Flint Michigan’s AutoWorld or it could be the next Commonwealth Stadium (something our grandparents paid for and that no one has ever whined about since – other than that roof thing).

    The CRL that is a shell game that is there for political reasons doesn’t matter – it’s tax dollars investing in Edmonton and it addresses one of the key problems in the City – the massive amount of land available downtown. I expect that in 10-15 years we will see the start of construction of a massive TOD development at the site of the former Coliseum and it will be called Gretzytown after names like Sol’Town2 are rejected.

    You think taxes are too high? You don’t like spending money on shiny things that you will never use? Then please pull up mapquest and search for Red Deer, followed by a quick googling of PODS. Perfect, you are half way to the city of your dreams – pick up trucks and strip malls as far as the eye can see and nary a nice thing or quality public space to be found.

    I even enjoyed Don Iveson’s Stance of “I vote no to the building of this arena, NOW LETS GET ON WITH IT AND GET THIS THING BUILT!!” You’re gonna make an awesome mayor with political savvy like that man!

    I know it will never shine like the $250 million overpass on 23rd ave, nor will it have the awesome public space as the greatly publicly subsidized South Edmonton Common has (that park bench buried in snow by the bus stop), but in a few years when we see Eberle lifing his 4th cup there, we will look back and laugh and laugh at the critics of this thing.

    • As someone who’s never sat in the golds or a luxury box, the standing room spots are my favorite! Not jamming my shins into the back of an old, wooden seat! A ledge to keep my mountain of empty beer cups! Not having to shuffle past 9 people to go take a piss! Those things are awesome.

      • The only bad part about the standing room “seats” is that when you’re not down in the Gold Club, you miss out on the conversations of some of Edmonton’s elite.

        For instance, the last game I went to I had gold club seats given to me; I learned that Bob just got back from Costa Rica and recently got his wife, Marcy, a new Porsche Cayenne. This was, of course, after test driving what BMW and Mercedes had to offer. Also, Marcy is re-doing the kitchen. Steve, on the other hand, just finished his residency and is thinking about making the switch from regular lattes to soy decaf lattes. He’s tired of being “gassy”.

        I shat you not. Last time I sat down there, that was what I had to listen to for pretty much the entire game….at least, until they left 5 minutes into the 3rd. You know, to beat the traffic.

  • Milli

    Yep, good on the Mayor and all involved that had the courage to get this done. If ever there was a downtown in need of re-vitalization, it is Edmonton. Can’t wait till the home opener 2016!!!!!!

  • MarcusBillius

    Excited to see this but nervous about the hundred million missing dollars. With cuts coming from the feds and provincial government I’m afraid it means another tax hike for me. :\

    • book¡e

      Yes, the government should increase services, build more things, clear my streets more often, improve health care, and cut my taxes.

      You sir have reached ‘Typical Albertan’ Logic – congratulations.

      Don’t worry, the $100 million will come out of infrastructure grants, your taxes are safe, but your roads are not. You can thus afford to buy and fuel the massive SUV to drive over the roads.

  • Con-Air McDavid

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  • ubermiguel

    Just got back from T.O. and had a chance to go the ACC for the first time. Damn, it really makes Rexall look old, cramped and crappy. Edmonton deserves nice things too! Still, not at any price…but we deserve a new rink.