December 22, 2017 9:01 am

Proposal for film production in Coliseum too much of a grey area

Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton.

Global News
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Oiler fans who remember the three goal comeback in game 3 against the Dallas Stars in the 1997 playoffs, where Kelly Buchburger won it in overtime, recall that as a Hollywood moment in Coliseum history.

Now there’s the thought the Coliseum would be suitable for some scripted Hollywood endings in its future.

In the past couple of weeks, since city council put out a casting call for last minute ideas, there have been some proposals that make you go, “hmmm.”

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“There have been legitimate ones absolutely,” ward 7 councillor Tony Caterina said.

But what’s not making them a slam dunk is the contract language that’s got Caterina frustrated and wondering if things can be revisited with the Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG).

Caterina said what the city signed off on prevents all sports and entertainment from happening in the building. To him, it means no hockey or concerts. But to the lawyers, it means something else.

READ MORE: Estimated cost to demo Coliseum doubles, Edmonton report says

“The legalities of it, because of that clause has caused a pause on it. Initially you’d say ‘yeah that makes sense because it’s not sport, it’s not entertainment,’ then our legal (department) goes that’s not exactly the interpretation,” he said.

The legitimate ideas he has heard include manufacturing, and production.

When asked if that includes making the Coliseum a soundstage, Caterina was reluctant to give specifics. “There’ve been some come through with that type of proposal to use it as a production facility, a centre for producing.”

“Which OEG is also involved in, in their media arm,” Caterina conceded, in a reference to Silver Pictures Entertainment, where Daryl Katz became a backer in 2015.

“So somebody might think, ‘what does that have to do with anything?’ Others will argue it’s in conflict and they have the hammer,” Caterina said.

READ MORE: Mayor Iveson wants options for Northlands Coliseum once it’s closed

Silver Pictures Entertainment hits all three phases of movies, TV and even digital production, meaning Edmonton’s gaming expertise is in conflict as far as the lawyers are concerned as Caterina sees it.

“That’s entertainment. That’s all being categorized under entertainment and that’s why the vagueness of it. We’ve asked our administration, how could you have ever entered into that agreement?”

City council will look at the proposals in January. Caterina hopes to convince OEG to loosen the restrictions in case someone from the public has an idea that doesn’t require any city money to avoid any conflict.

City council is in a rush to make a final decision on the Coliseum because it will cost $1.5 million a year to leave the building vacant.

Demolition costs range from $15 million to $25 million.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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