New poll finds Calgarians are torn on CalgaryNext plan for multi-sport complex

A photo of the proposed CalgaryNEXT sports complex. Aug. 18, 2015. Global News

CALGARY – A new poll finds Calgarians are split on whether to support a proposed plan for a $1 billion multi-sport complex for the Flames and Stampeders and whether public money should be used to build it.

The poll done by Mainstreet/Postmedia finds 39% of Calgarians support the project and 34% oppose it.

“Calgary residents are split on whether McMahon stadium and the Scotiabank Saddledome should be renovated or replaced – though most agree something should be done and fewer than 20% believe the facilities should be left as is. They are split on who should pay for the development, 45% say it should be solely bankrolled by the Flames ownership group while 40% say there should be government involvement. And Calgary residents who want to see the government play a role are split on whether there should be federal funding for the project, 39% say yes, 36% say no,” said David Valentin, executive vice-president of Mainstreet Research.

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The $890-million plan calls for the project to be funded through a $250-million ticket tax, a $240-million community levy, $200 million from team ownership and $200 million from city taxpayers for the fieldhouse.

However, where there is agreement in the poll, is that Calgarians don’t approve of the current funding plan for CalgaryNext and they think the government should be responsible for cleaning up the creosote on the site of the proposed development, which could run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

The site has been contaminated for decades, after it was a creosote wood-treatment plant until the 1960s.

“4 in 10 Calgarians believe that government and the Flames organization should jointly fund the project. Of those Calgarians, 56% believe city funds should be utilized and 65% believe the province should play a role.”Almost 2 in 10 Calgarians undecided on government involvement in the project there is still an opportunity to shift public opinion. They are the group that supporters and critics of this project will want to communicate with most closely,”

READ MORE: Who will pay for Calgary’s new arena? 

Mainstreet is a national public research firm.

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