Recap: Edmonton Arena District Open House

Yesterday Edmontonians had the opportunity to visit the Art Gallery of Alberta to learn more about the proposed Edmonton Arena District (EAD). At least that was the intent of the open house – I’m not sure how many people actually came away with a better idea of what the proposed downtown arena is all about or how it’ll become a reality. Representatives from the Katz Group, Stantec Consulting, Bunt & Associates, and Anschutz Entertainment Group were on hand to answer questions, and there was a number of images and other bits of information on display.

Edmonton Arena District Open House

Clearly the downtown arena is a topic that many Edmontonians find interesting. When I visited the open house at around 11:15am, it was already at capacity (200 people at at time). By 5:00pm, the total number of visitors was close to 2000. In all, around 2650 people stopped by. It’s great that EAD is working to involve the public in its plans, and I’m very happy that so many people took the time to learn more.

Edmonton Arena District

For those of you who have been following this issue, there wasn’t anything new presented. None of the big questions were answered: proposed funding models, or details on cost. I did ask some questions about parking (I want less not more), and got almost a word-for-word response from the FAQ page. The only additional bit of information that was provided to me was that there would be “seven LRT platforms within a few blocks of the area.” I’m really not sure where that number comes from.

Edmonton Arena District Open HouseEdmonton Arena District Open House

A quick scan of the #yegarena hashtag on Twitter yesterday suggested a good mix of negative and positive tweets. I decided to run all 110 tweets through OpenAmplify, a semantic web service I’ve been experimenting with. It can identify topics, people, and other items and can determine the attitude expressed toward each one (the polarity). Here’s what I found (polarities below zero are negative, zero is neutral, and polarities above zero are positive).

#yegarena (so all the tweets, effectively)

  • Mean polarity: 0.53
  • Min polarity: –0.6
  • Max polarity: 1

winter garden

  • Mean polarity: 0
  • Min polarity: –0.15
  • Max polarity: 0

So tweets were slightly more positive than negative on the arena, and slightly negative on the winter garden. OpenAmplify also assigned a polarity of –1 to Katz and 1 to Zack Stortini (who made an appearance). This is highly unscientific, of course, but I still think it’s interesting. FWIW, this is very similar to the result found by Tweet Sentiments.

You can see the rest of my photos from the open house here.