EDMONTON - The owner of the Edmonton Oilers has asked to appear before city council on Wednesday.

Mayor Stephen Mandel says he's interested in what pharmacy billionaire Daryl Katz will have to say about the new arena he wants to build in downtown Edmonton with mostly taxpayer money.

Mandel also says if Katz or officials from his company, the Katz Group, wants to appear in front of council, he or the others will have to do it in public.

In October, city councillors voted unanimously to walk away from a deal to build the arena after the Katz Group asked for at least another $210 million from taxpayers to build the arena.

Negotiations have been ongoing for four years to build a new home to replace the 38-year-old Rexall Place.

The deal had called for taxpayers and ticket-buyers paying to build the $475-million arena and surrounding infrastructure for a total cost of $700 million and rising, while the Oilers, in turn, would pay a $5.5-million annual lease for 35 years and another $10 million or so a year to operate the building.

Katz would keep all profits from games, trade shows, concerts, and the like for 11 months of the year. He would also get naming rights for the building — worth about $3 million — and another $2 million in advertising from the city for 10 years.

(CHED, The Canadian Press)

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