ALBERTA

Nita Jalkanen Commissions Edmonton Arena Survey; Pays $5,000

05/15/2013 06:26 EDT | Updated 05/15/2013 06:26 EDT
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EDMONTON, AB - October 12: A general view of game action during the NHL game between the Edmonton Oilers and the San Jose Sharks at Rexall Place on October 12, 2006 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The Oilers defeated the Sharks 6-4. (Photo by Tim Smith/Getty Images)

One Edmonton resident decided to take matters in her own hand after growing tired of the constant funding concerns surrounding the proposed Edmonton downtown arena.

Nita Jalkanen paid $5,000 to Environics Research Group to survey 300 Edmonton residents about their thoughts on the arena.

“I felt that the voice of taxpayers was not properly represented at the bargaining table,” Jalkanen, an administrative assistant, told the Edmonton Journal.

“I’m one of the little people and I don’t think we’re being properly represented,” she added.

Six in ten respondents disagreed with the city using taxpayer money to fund the arena and three-quarters said they would prefer their tax dollars be spent on other priorities.

Many were quick to comment on the self-commissioned survey on social media sites.

"Nita Jalkanen has now put more money into the project than [Daryl] Katz has," one user quipped.

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Edmonton Arena Survey's Reaction

"I'm going to pay $5000 to take a poll of all the things people in [Edmonton] would do if they had $5000 and send it to Nita Jalkanen," said user Jason Lee Norman.

Seven in ten respondents also said that city hall should negotiate a better deal while three-quarters said its somewhat likely that the issue would affect their vote.

Edmonton taxpayers will pay $219 million toward the new downtown arena.

The Katz Group' share towards the project will be $143 million. Another $125 million will come from a ticket tax that wouldn't exceed seven per cent of the total cost of a ducat.

The arena has divided citizens, and detractors say the deal is too lopsided in favour of Darryl Katz, with public money being needed for the rink.

Whether the city ends up funding more of the arena than Edmontonians would like, Jalkanen's survey may at least push the discussion to overtime.

With files from the Canadian Press