Danielle Smith Public scrap over arena benefits no one


Incumbent Mayor Naheed Nenshi surprised everyone on Monday by launching his vision for an arts and entertainment district that appeared to include plans for a new arena.

Then on Tuesday, the president and CEO of the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC), Ken King, dropped an even bigger bomb when he said the ownership group was done talking with the city because they were getting nowhere in discussions after two years of trying. What happened?

Having watched the Edmonton arena deal play out over several years and witnessed the incredible success it has been since it opened, I have been surprised by how difficult it has been for the city to come to similar terms with the Calgary Flames franchise.

LISTEN: Ken King explains why the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation won’t pursue a new arena

READ MORE: Rogers Place arena opens in downtown Edmonton to great fanfare

As reported in Metro News, the latest “Plan B” proposal was structured with owners paying a third, a ticket tax covering a third, and the city kicking in a third of the total $500-million project. Like in Edmonton, the city’s share would come from the incremental tax revenues generated from all the new construction that would build up around the arena, not from homeowners’ property tax bills.

READ MORE: Ken King pens open letter to Calgary Flames fans amid controversial comment