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Process for public engagement for new Calgary arena set up

A look at the Victoria Park neighbourhood seen in the Rivers District Master Plan from the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation.
A look at the Victoria Park neighbourhood seen in the Rivers District Master Plan from the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation. Calgary Municipal Land Corporation

The public will have their say on the design of the new arena and what they want to see in the cultural and entertainment district in Calgary early in 2020.

Details of the public engagement were approved by Calgary city council’s events centre assessment committee on Thursday.

READ MORE: Calgary city council approves new arena deal

When the $550-million agreement between the city, Calgary Sports and Entertainment (owners of the Calgary Flames) and Calgary Stampede was announced in July, there was a lot of criticism over the lack of public consultation about the deal.

“I don’t think there’s any illusion that you’ll ever get 100 per cent satisfaction from citizens,” Councillor Jeff Davison said on the engagement process that has been set up.

“I certainly hope that those who feel like that they didn’t have a say will have that say in terms of what this will look like and what this will do in terms of a city facility.”

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READ MORE: By the numbers: How does Calgary’s proposed new arena stack up against other NHL rinks

The engagement will run over a 10-week period with online surveys and in-person and community events, but there won’t be the traditional town halls.

“Asking Calgarians, asking user groups when you’re coming down here, what do you want to do, what are some of the things you want to do as part of your day, celebrate being a Calgarian,” said Michael Brown, president of Calgary Municipal Land Corporation.

The information collected will be used as critical ingredients to drive the ultimate design of the project, Brown added.

Watch below: Global News coverage of the Calgary arena deal approval

CMLC will conduct the engagement starting in the first quarter of 2020.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Calgarians come down and say, ‘I want to experience a concert or a hockey game, but I also want the ability to go and get some good food. I want to be able to come down to the entertainment district and experience and utilize the building, but I may not be there for hockey,'” Brown said.

He said it’s just as important to get feedback on the proposed festival street and plaza around the new arena. Those areas are not part of the $550-million agreement but there is hope that private-sector investment could be attracted.

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CMLC is also in talks with a partner on plans to bring a four- to five-star hotel to the area.

Following the engagement, CMLC will write a report with recommendations that will go back to the committee and eventually to city council for approval.