Just when you thought you were out, they pull you back in. On Thursday, Calgary city council will debate a notice of motion to reconsider the city’s contribution to the new Calgary Flames arena.
On Thursday, I will put forward a motion asking City Council to reconsider its decision to provide $290 million of public funding for the Flames arena, and instead redirect much of the funding to the Green Line. pic.twitter.com/r40es4pmVk
— Evan Woolley (@EWoolleyWard8) November 27, 2019
The notion of motion comes during a particularly painful budget cycle for the city, and as council debates the future of the Green Line LRT project. The Green Line project has been ongoing for awhile, with debates about its length, alignment, and for some councilors even whether it should be trains or BRT. A shift in the expected cashflow from the provincial government has further complicated matters.
In July, council voted 11-4 to approve $290 million of public funding for the arena (including the costs of demolishing the Saddledome), albeit with a somewhat complicated repayment mechanism tied to building revenues. Council members Jeromy Farkas, Druh Farrell, George Chahal and Evan Woolley – who’s bringing forth the reconsideration vote – voted against the deal.
And lawyers for the City, Stampede and CSEC are still talking about the final version of the arena deal. Those familiar with the talks say it's supposed to be finalized sometime in the next several weeks as it's a complex arrangement.
— Scott Dippel (@CBCScott) November 27, 2019
Because the vote is on something council has already approved, it needs a super-majority of council – 10 votes – to overturn. Likely Woolley is hoping that the current financial crunch the city is under will cause six more of his colleagues to get cold feet regarding the arena deal.
It doesn’t seem particularly likely given the amount of support council gave the deal in July, but stranger things have happened. We’ll have more on this story as it develops.