Earlier this week, the nine-member committee studying the feasibility of building a new hockey arena in Edmonton released their report. It contains no surprises, and recommends that if a new facility is to be built, it should be built downtown. I’m sure you’ve heard all about it on the news, but there are lots of excellent blog posts on the story that should not be missed. Here they are, with quotes.
From Covered in Oil:
The other question, whether a new arena would be better off in another part of the City will have to go unanswered, as the Feasibility Committee didn’t seem to even bother to look anywhere else.
If I get the underlying logic of this development, bringing people downtown will bring in cash. but that cash will flow out of the area if the owners do not live downtown. Sure, money will be spent at restaurants and casinos, but where do the profits go?
From Colby Cosh:
I’m not too clear after reading the summary just what is wrong with the existing Rexall Place. I was looking forward to some clear public explanation of this, but all we’ve been given is a lot of wind about “downtown revitalization.”
From The Battle of Alberta:
Dear Mr. Lowe,
We already have a hockey shrine in Edmonton. It’s called the Northlands Coliseum. You might remember it. You won five Stanley Cups there.
A arena without a history of accomplishment is not a shrine. It’s a mall with seats.
From Fighting for Taxpayers:
Dr. Brad Humphreys, the foremost expert on the economic benefits of professional sport teams and arenas has proven that there is not an economic growth, but merely a shift of where the money is spent.
Of course I want Edmonton’s downtown to become vibrant, but building a giant hockey rink won’t automatically put Edmonton in a position to rival downtown Montreal or New York (like some of the article’s have alluded). I’m still not convinced that spending upwards of $450 million (plus land costs) on an arena that will draw the suburbs downtown for a couple hours 2-3 nights a week is what will revitalize downtown.
There will be a new arena and it will be downtown, any alternatives have pretty much been steamrolled over by the municipal government and the Edmonton media. There will be public funding, not direct tax increases, but by other means, and the province will give nothing.
From A Blog Of Pucks:
It would be an 18,000 seat 450 Million dollar arena. That’s great but once again I’ll ask the difficult question: Is this really going to make the wives like living in Edmonton any better? The committee better ask Pronger’s better half first.
And finally, this one isn’t a blog but an article at CBC today:
A new downtown Edmonton arena to replace Rexall Place could threaten one of the biggest annual events in the city, say officials with the Canadian Finals Rodeo.
The owners of Rexall Place, Edmonton Northlands, are ruling out the possibility of keeping it open as is, if a new arena is built.
“We can’t have two competing large-scale facilities,” Jerry Bouma, chair of the board, said Wednesday.
Also, be sure to check out this interview with Brad Humphreys.
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. Stay tuned.