The CalgaryNEXT arena project may not be going ahead as first thought, but the company that owns the Flames and the Stampeders says it is open to considering an alternative plan.
According to a letter sent to season ticket holders, the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) has “accepted an offer from the city to examine a ‘Plan B’” which would see an arena and event centre located on the Stampede Grounds, a separate fieldhouse in the city’s northwest near the University of Calgary and some renovations to McMahon Stadium.
“While we question the logic of building separate structures and a temporary solution for McMahon, we are encouraged that the city is taking the need for new sports infrastructure seriously,” the letter signed by CSEC CEO Ken King stated. “We enter this process with an open mind but also a strong belief that CalgaryNEXT is the most logical solution that will benefit all Calgarians.”
The letter goes on to say the estimated cost of CalgaryNEXT would not be anywhere near what the City of Calgary stated in a report released in April.
“The city’s report stated that CalgaryNEXT would bear a total cost of $1.8 billion – a number more than twice what we have initially proposed.”
King said many of the additional costs outlined in the report are those that “will be incurred for the ultimate development of West Village, the fieldhouse and contamination clean-up with or without, the inclusion of CalgaryNEXT.”
“I assure you that the total cost of this facility, as confirmed by three independent contractors, remains $890 million as we’ve said all along.”
However, King does concede that the city’s report “brought up a number of reasonable questions” which they intend to respond to.
“Once our response to the city is complete, we will share it with you and I welcome your feedback and any questions you may have,” King stated.
“The city is an important partner in this process and we are continuing to work with them to find the best way to meet the sports and recreation needs of Calgarians.”
The original $890-million plan for CalgaryNEXT called 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.
Ward 8 Councillor Evan Wooley said he thinks the Flames have always been “open” to other ideas. He said he supports giving both the original concept and ‘Plan B’ a “fair shake.”
WATCH: Ward 8 Councillor Evan Wooley discusses a possible Plan B for CalgaryNEXT being looked at by the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation