As Edmonton city hall ponders building a new downtown arena on their own -- after Oilers owner Daryl Katz ceased negotiations -- the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling a time out.
The CTF’s Scott Hennig tells The Edmonton Sun the best way to get the arena built is through Katz.
“A city-built arena is feasible yes, but smart? No,” Hennig told The Sun.
“The city should do the opposite of building themselves, and sit back and wait for Daryl Katz to build his own.
“If they do it themselves, it only gives him considerably more leverage than he already has.”
Negotiations between the Katz Group and the city started falling apart when the Oilers owner told council weeks before the year-long process was to be completed for millions more than had been predicted and that both sides had agreed to.
Mayor Stephen Mandel told the Oilers’ owners that if they wanted more taxpayer cash they would have to make their point and talk to council in person.
Saying the two sides were too fat apart to reach any kind of agreement in one meeting, Katz refused to appear and make his case to council. Thus, Wednesday’s deadline came and went without the signatures to seal the deal.
“The deal we offer to Mr. Katz was incredibly profitable,” the Edmonton Journal quoted Mandel .
“I know the numbers and I can tell you he wasn’t going to lose money.
“I can add and subtract the same as you can. … This is an incredibly profitable deal.”
But the director of the Downtown Business Association, Jim Taylor suggests selling off the Northlands property where the Coliseum currently sits to offset the costs of building a downtown arena.
The idea was floated about two years, Taylor told 630 CHED.
"Why couldn't the city build the arena, rethink where the money in the CRL is used, use more of it for the arena, sell the Northlands property where Rexall sits because that's city land, and build it and have Northlands run it, and have the Oilers as a tenant and it becomes very much the same situation as it is now,” he told CHED.
The tone coming out of city hall and among Edmonton business leaders can conservatively be described as annoyed but for many fans, what they’re feeling can be more closely associated to rage.
This is what Oilers fans are saying about how the whole process had gone down. STORY CONTINUES BELOW..
Oilers fans deserve better, says fan blog coppernblue.com.
What the Katz group is doing is akin to blackmail as reward of years of faithful allegiance, the blog states.
“I don't know about you but sustainability is quickly becoming one of my least favourite words. The way it's being used by the Katz Group is nothing more than emotional blackmail intended to make fans fear that the team will relocate if we don't capitulate to the demands of the Katz Group,” it says.
“That isn't a fair way to conduct negations with the City and it isn't fair to treat the people of Edmonton who have supported this team through the last six seasons with sell-out after sell-out despite the fact that the on-ice product was ridiculously subpar.”
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