Proposed CalgaryNEXT site in West Village is ‘dead’: Mayor Naheed Nenshi
The plan to build a new home for the Calgary Flames in the city’s West Village is “dead,” according to Calgary’s mayor.
Naheed Nenshi went on record on Monday evening, confirming the proposed hybrid arena-stadium-field house, called CalgaryNEXT, is not being considered by the City of Calgary.
“The thing about a new arena project – and I’ll use those terms because CalgaryNext, the West Village, is dead – but the thing about a new arena project is that our first criterion has always been public money for public benefits,” Nenshi said. “So, it really is up to the Calgary Sports and Entertainment [Corporation] to figure out what the public benefit is.”
READ MORE: POLL: Who should pay for CalgaryNext?
A city report pegged the cost of CalgaryNEXT at $1.8 billion.
The Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) also put forward a so-called Plan B which would see an arena and event centre located on the Stampede Grounds in Victoria Park, a separate fieldhouse in the city’s northwest near the University of Calgary, and some renovations done to McMahon Stadium.
“A potential site in Victoria Park makes way more sense,” Nenshi said. “Because those infrastructure investments, including the Green Line [LRT], are happening anyway.”
CSEC president and CEO Ken King told News Talk 770 he thought CalgaryNEXT had been paused, not killed.
“We’ve been working on a Victoria Park consideration,” he said. “The field house probably will get built someplace else, but I just thought we could solve a lot of problems with the one large project.”
“This is a public facility. This is a piece of public infrastructure, it’s a gathering place and will be formidable. It will be fantastic wherever it goes. It will be a magnet for about 1.5 to two-million people a year.”
Reaction to the ‘death’ of CalgaryNEXT
“It seemed to come out of the blue,” News Talk 770’s Danielle Smith told Global News on Tuesday.
“I think people are going to be pretty disappointed about it,” she added. “I think [Nenshi] kind of over-stepped his mark.”
WATCH: News Talk 770’s Danielle Smith joins Global Calgary to discuss the ‘death’ of CalgaryNEXT
“I imagine something will get built, but I kind of question now what happens with West Village.”
The land in the West Village where CalgaryNext was potentially set to be constructed would have required environmental remediation to clear toxic chemicals left behind by a Creosote Canada plant on the banks of the Bow River.
“If you get an anchor tenant who’s as serious as the Flames organization putting together a major proposal like this – you’ll clean up the creosote in the land, you’ll attract new investment, you’ll be able to get businesses and residential in there. Who’s going to take that risk now?”
“What I think this signals is that the city isn’t really serious about cleaning that spot up. And if they’re not serious about it – it’s just going to sit as a dead zone for who knows how long.”
“If they’re going to reject this proposal then let’s turn the eyes back on what is actually going to happen to [the] West Village,” she added.
With files from News Talk 770’s Joe McFarland
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