April 24, 2013 4:42 pm

Edmonton scaling back basketball plan without provincial funding

Canada's Denham Brown, right, goes to the basket against Uruguay's Nicolas Borsellino during a FIBA Americas Championship basketball game in Mar del Plata, Argentina, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011. The top two finishers of the tournament get an automatic berth in the 2012 London Olympics and the next three advance to the last-chance Olympic qualifier to be held in July 2012. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

EDMONTON – The city is looking at scaling back plans to make Edmonton the basketball capital of Canada because the province won’t put money into the project.

A proposal adopted last year would have seen Canada Basketball train nine of its 10 teams full-time at the Saville Community Sports Centre on the University of Alberta’s South Campus.

The men’s senior team, under general manager and NBA star Steve Nash, would have used Edmonton as a part-time base.

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But the province has decided not to provide the $1.9 million requested for 2013, so the plan will now involve having only the senior women’s team permanently located in Edmonton, according to a report released Wednesday.

Basketball Canada would also establish a permanent office in Edmonton and work on programs to help at-risk youth and inner-city communities.

They will continue to look at establishing the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame in Edmonton, as well as discussing bringing the other national teams, international “friendlies” and NBA exhibition games to the city.

The smaller scheme would require city council to confirm its commitment to put in $500,000 a year for four years, which organizers expect to supplement with sponsorship and other revenue, the report says.

The issue will be discussed next week by council’s executive committee.

Coun. Bryan Anderson said the project was hurt by tight budgets for all levels of government.

“We have a perfect storm of negativity here in terms of finances. There isn’t a worse time for us to make this kind of demand on the provincial government.”

© The Edmonton Journal, 2013

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