Alberta Politics

Will Downtown Arena funding be issue #1 in Edmonton’s municipal elections?

Scrambling to fill $55 million in missing funding for the proposed Katz Group downtown arena, City Councillors voted last week to postpone any final vote on financing the project. Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel won the support of enough Capital Region politicians last week to potentially secure an extra $25 million for the project (though, the vote may have been improperly recorded).

Dave Colburn Edmonton City Council
Dave Colburn

As it becomes clear that poor planning and bad strategy is leaving a few current Edmonton politicians scratching their heads at how to fund this mega-project, it is becoming more likely that the downtown arena will become a top issue in the October 21, 2013 municipal elections.

There are still no candidates declared running for Mayor, but a swath of hopefuls eyeing spots on Edmonton’s City Council recently announced their intentions to run in the October elections.

In Ward 7, three-term Public School Board trustee Dave Colburn launched his campaign for City Council yesterday at the Bellevue Community Hall. Mr. Colburn recently wrote a guest post sharing some ideas about how to save inner-city schools from suburban sprawl. He will be challenging Ward 7’s incumbent Councillor Tony Caterina.

Running to replace Mr. Colburn in the public school board’s Ward D is his predecessor, former NDP MLA Ray Martin, who served as trustee for the area from 2001 until 2004.

David Dodge Edmonton City Council
David Dodge

On May 21, David Dodge will launch his campaign for City Council in Ward 3. Mr. Dodge is the producer of Green Energy Futures and the past-president of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues. Ward 3 is currently represented by first-term Councillor Dave Loken.

On May 14, Richard Feehan will be launching his campaign in Ward 10. Mr. Feehan is an instructor at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Social Work in Edmonton and is a former vice-president of Catholic Social Services. Also running in Ward 10 is community organizer Michael Walters. Incumbent Councillor Don Iveson, has announced he will not seek re-election for City Council in Ward 10.

See the full list of declared candidates running in Edmonton’s municipal elections

4 replies on “Will Downtown Arena funding be issue #1 in Edmonton’s municipal elections?”

One important correction, the Capital Region Board cannot declare their support of the arena since it is a double majority vote. 17 of the 24 municipalities must vote in support which must equal 75% of the population. There was only 16 municipalities that voted in support of the grant for an arena. Also the previous 3 million city council dedicated toward loan payments for the 45 million is not guaranteed. The extra money from the municipality sustainability fund is for this year and may not be issued next year. As well this fund is only guaranteed until 2017. The majority of taxpayers do not support any more taxpayer’s money going to this project (67% from Leger Marketing). I believe all councillors who go against the public will pay a price at the polls.

Generally, I would follow a progressive stance on most issues but on the arena, I beginning to take a more futuristic view–WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?

Why are we spending hoards of money on a sexist, expensive, violent, competitive, small number of fitness participation sport of hockey especially when many of us don’t watch hockey?

The Mayor and Council have spent far too much time and funds on this one issue. Before I vote for Mayor or councillor I want them to declare where they stand on the arena issue.

An important question for candidates will be about their positions on the use of surplus school grounds for housing development. These areas have been used in our neighborhoods for many years as parks, promoting fitness and outdoor recreation for generations of youngsters. The question is, will the next council be supporting a new arena for professional sports at taxpayer expense while at the same time eliminating soccer fields for families?

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