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City of Calgary working group set up to deal with Flames arena negotiations

Calgary Old City Hall. Jan. 2016. Loren Andreae / Global News

Two of Calgary City Council’s most vocal opponents when it comes to conditionally approving four major projects are going to help come up with a proposal for who should negotiate for the city with the Calgary Flames on a new arena.

On Thursday, the city’s events centre committee created a working group, which includes councillors Evan Woolley and Jeromy Farkas, who along with other members of the committee have been tasked to do a number of things, including handling the negotiating framework and public engagement on the matter.

“We need to talk about transparency,” Woolley said. “How are we going to communicate to Calgarians, starting now, about what’s going on and to what scale and scope engagement will take place.

“I’m really interested in ensuring we bring good governance and rigour to this process.”

Woolley said he is still concerned about the decision made at Monday’s closed-door meeting where council, by an 11-4 vote, conditionally approved going ahead with the BMO Centre expansion, events centre, fieldhouse and new Arts Commons.

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“We need to be very clear with Calgarians about what exactly was allocated and frankly, I’m not certain council has enough of an understanding right now on what was approved,” Woolley said.

READ MORE: Calgary council expected to vote on proposed arena at Monday meeting

Watch below: (From March 2019) Ward Sutherland, Calgary city councillor for Ward 1, joins Global News Calgary to discuss Monday’s city council meeting, when a vote is expected on the city’s terms for a new arena.

Click to play video 'Calgary city council to vote on arena proposal' Calgary city council to vote on arena proposal
Calgary city council to vote on arena proposal – Mar 3, 2019

“”This is absolutely not a case of council writing blank cheques,” said Jeff Davison, chair of the events centre committee. He said a lot of work still needs to be done on these files.

“In principle, we would like to see all of these things happen, however, we all recognize this can’t happen overnight,” Davison said.

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“You can’t build these things tomorrow.”

Davison said he doesn’t believe priority being placed on the four major projects will negatively impact other city work.

“The committee is acutely aware of all the other capital projects we have going on, and we’re all very mindful of the Green Line, and we’re all very mindful of things like the tax shift and how we’ve got to ensure we’re operating in a context that we can handle all of that, as well as some of these facilities.”