Calgary councillors spent hours behind closed doors at city hall on Monday, discussing several major infrastructure projects including the expansion of the BMO Centre, renovations to Arts Commons, and a new event centre and hockey arena in Victoria Park.
The discussions concluded with councillors agreeing to start work on a proposal for a new home for the Calgary Flames.
Ward 6 Councillor Jeff Davison is behind the push to move forward with a new arena.
“One of the next steps for the committee is to get that mandate from council to start looking at what a proposal can come together as,” he said Monday.
“We’ve talked about this for a couple of years now. It’s really time to get on with it.”
In addition to discussing a new hockey arena, councillors were presented with a proposal by former mayoral candidate Bill Smith to replace McMahon Stadium with a fieldhouse.
The facility is part of a proposed project which would include two rinks, a pool, an indoor practice facility and a gym. The fieldhouse would take up 35 acres of a 100-acre site, leaving the rest for commercial development. Smith said the entire project is estimated to cost about $500 million.
“I think the fieldhouse is an extremely important project for all Calgarians,” Ward 5 Councillor George Chahal said.
“It’s been on as a priority for Calgary since 1967 and we haven’t seen it go anywhere.”
Smith presented the proposal on behalf of a group called Calgary Rising.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said funding details for the BMO Centre expansion, Arts Commons renovations, new hockey arena and new fieldhouse all need to be worked out.
“I also don’t think we’ll be in a position to announce the funding for any of them today,” he said Monday. “The BMO Centre is still waiting for its federal funding, and there’s no deal on the table yet for the arena.”
– With files from Lisa MacGregor