What went wrong with CalgaryNEXT?

With the City of Calgary officially calling the CalgaryNEXT proposal untenable, the Flames sports district project as it is currently envisioned seems dead in the water. What’s more, this outcome seemed inevitable given how completely CSEC had lost the PR war in the period between their campaign launch and the city’s rebuttal.

Regular readers here know I am fundamentally opposed to the public subsidizing major arena projects like this one, because the economics and risk associated them always overtly favour the team and not the taxpayer. Aside from flagrantly transgressing the principle of public dollars for public benefit, the CalgaryNEXT pitch had three fatal flaws that ultimately doomed it:

  1. It didn’t properly consider the city’s perspective.
  2. It didn’t sell a comprehensive or inspiring vision.
  3. It suffered from bad timing and poor political optics.

Let’s investigate each of these in more depth.

IT DOESN’T SOLVE ANY OF THE CITY’S PAIN POINTS

CalgaryNEXT solves all the Flames’ problems but merely creates new ones for the city.

Superficially, the choice of Calgary’s West Village is a strategic one. It’s the last area of downtown that is relatively blighted and it has enough space to fit two major structures like an arena and a fieldhouse. As such, it’s an obvious opportunity for CSEC to play the “revitalization” card out of the “public money subsidy” playbook. 

However, the Flames failed to fully consider why the West Village has remained fallow for so long. The main reasons being: creosote contamination and lacklustre infrastructure. These two factors ensure that any development in the West Village will encounter long latency periods and big costs up front on top of the regular expenses associated with building a new community. 

As a result, West Village has consistently been put on the back burner when it comes to downtown development in Calgary. If and when the city decides to redevelop WV, it will have to have a very clear and comprehensive plan of how it will all be accomplished in order to justify the associated costs. 

In addition, the city has set out particular urban redevelopment objectives in the MDP (Municipal Development Plan), a program that seeks to guide Calgary’s urban development over the next 50 years or so. The seven goals of the MDP include: building a prosperous economy, making complete communities, increasing density, improving transit and connectedness, becoming more environmentally friendly and more. As such, they want new communities and potentially iconic core areas to reflect all of the MDP’s key objectives.

Here’s the problem with CalgaryNEXT: though it pays lip service to some of these considerations, it doesn’t really take any them into account. In fact, not only does the Flames’ proposal not help solve any of these issues, it exacerbates them. 

Adding huge megastructures to the West Village that evoke big traffic spikes only complicates the already problematic infrastructure in the area. In fact, all transit, road construction and parking allotment would need to be designed around the arena and fieldhouse combination for WV to be at all functional. Given the size of the space in question, CalgaryNEXT would essentially become a huge blackhole in the centre of the community, skewing and bending all of the infrastructure development around it. Not to mention, it would soak up a lot of prime real estate that can no longer be leveraged to generate property taxes.

So instead of the city creating roads, transit and parking optimized for walkability, accessibility and mixed use, it would become a game of how to cram enough parking and major exit/entrance routes in the West Village to accommodate game nights. 

On top of all that, CSEC didn’t contribute anything towards the other major stalling points: creosote remediation and funding the fieldhouse. While the CalgaryNEXT proposal pointed out that solving these two issues would be a good thing, it didn’t say how, exactly, the city should do that. 

Obviously cleaning up the contaminated WV land is desirable. And it would be nice for the city to have a fieldhouse. But Calgary officials haven’t figured out how to pay for either of those things yet. And the Flames didn’t present any new options or ideas on the matter. 

Instead, CSEC positioned themselves as free riders on the benefits of creosote decontamination and fieldhouse construction. They wanted the remediated land (paid for by someone else) for their arena for free, the city to plan infrastructure around their sports district and also a fieldhouse built so the Stamps would have somewhere to play. Again, for free.

If the Flames had come to the city with a plan that addressed or at least helped solve any of the major pain points in West Village (and/or funding the fieldhouse), they likely would have found a much more attentive “negotiating partner” in the public. Instead, they pitched a project that obviously benefitted their organization in fundamental ways, but actually enhanced (rather than solved) the city’s major obstacles to WV and fieldhouse development.

BIG ASK, VAGUE VISION

The next fatal flaw in the CalgaryNEXT campaign was less about the steak and more about the sizzle. Although CSEC has supposedly been working on the arena project for many years, the subsequent vision they shared was altogether too vague to inspire anyone. Then they paired it with a huge price tag. 

Many of the buzzwords common to arena pitches were thrown around: “world class”, “revitalization”, “legacy”, “transformation”, “global leadership”, etc. but nothing in the CalgaryNEXT marketing material really shows how the district or the buildings were going to accomplish these things. There’s hand waving about saving money by combining the facilities together, some stock renderings of buildings and then a lot of doublespeak and broad promises.

calgarynext

yawn.

CalgaryNEXT will enable the completion and revitalization of Calgary’s urban core.”

“It will? Tell me more!”

“Because sports and events and stuff!”

Groan.

There is a very distinct flavour of “if you build it they will come” to much of the CalgaryNEXT marketing materials. The Flames didn’t articulate or illustrate much in the way of specifics about the facilities in question. They didn’t present a compelling plan or narrative for what the resultant community would look and feel like. 

It’s one thing to say it will be transformative. It’s another thing completely to show how. With the public unable to picture these benefits, the $1 billion price tag becomes rather unpalatable.

BAD TIMING

This one isn’t on the Flames, but it nevertheless played a major role in undermining their proposal. The oil price crash, rise in unemployment and evacuation of office space in downtown Calgary are all major political headaches for an organization asking to reach into the public’s pocket. Not to mention the election of a new provincial government that figures to increase taxes in the short term. 

Although the current environment lends itself to the Keynesian argument of stimulus spending by the government, the CalgaryNEXT project falls well behind other public infrastructure and community development like the Green Line LRT and the completion of East Village. 

As such, CalgaryNEXT is not only competing with the awkward optics of a well heeled private company asking for public dollars, but also with other major, public capital projects, not all of which are fully funded themselves

Conclusion

CalgaryNEXT may have been able to survive one of these factors had their pitch been suitably strong in the others, but not all three simultaneously. 

An area project that somehow solved one of the major issues in the West Village or bought the city a fieldhouse likely would have gotten over a few hurdles. Alternatively, if the Flames had creatively defined and shared an actually transformative vision of downtown Calgary (and not just called it that), they may have been able to get the public on board. And, of course, if the city’s economy didn’t suddenly tank in lockstep with their campaign launch they might have encountered people who would have been less agitated about a proposed $500 M handout.  

Unfortunately for the Flames, none of these things are true. CalgaryNEXT horribly complicates an already complicated situation in West Village, doesn’t present a clear or inspiring vision for the community and presents a giant bill to an anxious, cash poor public. 

  • Backburner

    Wow, you nailed it Kent.

    Although I admire the Vision, they just didn’t bother addressing any of the details.

    I think it would have been a way different outcome if they had offered to pay for the creosote cleanup, you know “Captain Planet to the rescue”, everyone would have at least been more open.

    I was particularly surprised that they didn’t have a “Plan B”. To me it showed that they were not open to discussion with the city, or to solving any of the tougher questions.

      • Backburner

        Nenshi came right out of the gate and said, we are open to the proposal, we would even go as far as to offer land.. Ken King didn’t even meet him half way.

      • Greg

        I find it hard to believe how ill-conceived the entire proposal and marketing has been. Stunning display of being out of touch and misjudging a market, especially for an org so closely tied to the public.

        • RedMan

          if the flames don’t already have a “plan B” in place that was waiting for this (public/city)response, than i would agree that this whole things shows true lack of insight and leadership.

          However, being a little cynical by nature, i just assume there IS a plan b in place that will seem much more favorable in comparison.

          otherwise, yeesh, that would be horribly poor strategizing by Ken King to make such a crap proposal with zero chance of acceptance and not have a real plan ready to fill the gap.

  • Steve-o

    Part of me thinks Flames ownership is doesn’t want to be a small market team in a now struggling province? When the province was booming maybe 2 small market Canadian teams there made sense. So maybe larger strategy is for set up new arena proposal for failure, then pivot to moving Flames to a larger US market? Read: Seattle. Just my guess. Murray Edwards left the province for a new residence in London, so….anything is possible..

    • Calgary is a top-10 hockey market in the NHL with a grass roots fan base and long hockey history. There’s no greener grass for the ownership group elsewhere.

      They also own the Stamps, Hitmen and Roughnecks…so pulling the Flames from Calgary would make their lives extremely complicated.

        • Backburner

          The Flames avg 19,145 in NHL attendance for home games, avg $262.10 in ticket prices, generate $130 mill in revenue every year.. and they have all the major corporate sponsorship they need, with basically zero competition from other professional sports teams in a huge geographical area.

          Where are they going to go to beat that.. Seatle? Vegas?

          I don’t care how nice a new arena is.. they aren’t going anywhere.

          • KACaribou

            Right you are. Though the next tactic will be threats of the team being moved. They did that in Edmonton to further negotiation. It gets the natives restless and seems to work quite well.

        • Greg

          There really isn’t. There’s been studies done showing city populations and the proportion of potential NHL fans based on Google search analytics, and the results have very closely mirrored the actual decisions of the NHL so seem at least approximately close to accurate. They’ve shown Seattle is at the top, but in the same ballpark as Vegas, with both just marginally ahead of Phoenix. Ya, that hockey market powerhouse.

          Unless the dollar drops back into the 60 cent range again, the days of having to worry about the flames relocating are long gone. Doesn’t mean they won’t threaten it. And if Seattle (or Houston, Kansas, Quebec City, etc) bent over backwards and gave them a new arena, they might actually do it. But it’s about as likely as the current CalgaryNext proposal happening.

      • nikkomsgb

        It would also make CSEC no longer viable. The Stamps/Hitmen/Roughnecks are only worth owning because of the economies of scale associated with owing them all at the same time as owning the Flames. Take the flames out of the equation, and they don’t make sense.

        The NLL has proven to to be difficult to make money in, even here with strong attendance. They almost folded before the Flames bought them.

        The CFL is a league where most teams break even at best, and in many cases lose money. The obvious exception being Sask.

        The hitmen I can’t speak to financially, but I can’t imagine owing them on their own would in any way move the needle.

        There is a reason why this CSEC model exists in a number of other markets, it works…but only with a foundational franchise like the Flames

    • nikkomsgb

      I think your imagination has gotten the best of you here. The flames have been good to the city and the city has been good to the flames. They organization makes a ton of money. Murray Edwards moved, but he never put a gun to the city’s head like Katz did.

      They’ll sort a rink out somewhere, it just won’t be under as favourable a situation for themselves as they had hoped.

      Interestingly the West Village clean-up at $100 million is better than expected. The province should definitely sue Domtar for the clean-up costs…it’s an environmental catastrophe that needs cleaning up and the company responsible should pay. That would be one decent legacy from this failed CalgaryNext proposal.

  • If you put a gun to my head – please don’t – I would reckon there is a 5% chance of the Flames pulling up stakes and moving. Every member of ownership, save for Edwards, has strong local ties and tons of investments and philanthropic interests in the city.

    • Steve-o

      Well Murray is the majority owner? Do you really see him owning the team long term from London England? I find that hard to see. Just sayin’ I wouldn’t be surprised if goal is to set up new arena project for failure so as to rationalize move and or sale of team to larger US market owners. Things change…

      • Parallex

        The vast bulk of Edwards considerable wealth is in Alberta… if you find it “hard to see” him owning the team long term from London England then by extension you must also find it “hard to see” him maintaining ownership of the bulk of his business interests… for some reason (namely that it’d be completely insane) I find that hard to believe.

      • Edwards still has holdings and property here. HE isn’t leaving the country he has helped build through his philanthropy. He’s merely buying a house in England where he can avoid the taxes and vacation when he wants.

        Second, as everyone has pointed out. There’s several problems with moving the Flames. 1. The other Franchises in the city. 2. The Market here is known and stable enough for the Flames to continue to profit. Moving would throw them into uncertainty. Look at Phoenix, Atlatna version 2. etc. You think there’s greener pastures on the other side only to find out its not so cozy 3. the other owners would never agree.

        Moreover, I think a deal will get done here. It’ll likely be more something like the Flames will pay 250m of their own investment. They will borrow 240-250 from the city at a low interest rate for a ticket tax and build an arena on stampede grounds. The city will kick in 50m for a revitalization of McMahon That gives them 550m to play with. Build a 440,000 arena and use the other 110 for bringing McMahon up to scratch.

  • mattyc

    Guys… Murray Edwards is just a ‘tax refugee’. He’s still chairman/whatever of CNRL, which has head offices in Calgary. He’ll just live the requisite number of days in London to save some taxes.

    I wouldn’t expect the London Flames (or Seattle Flames) anytime soon.

    \

    EDIT: If you want to read some absolute FP garbage on this, Happy Trails

      • MontanaMan

        How much taxes has Murray paid in his 35 years plus in the industry? I would wager 1000X more than you Derzie. So yes, he’s paid his taxes. And will continue to as the Chair of CNRL.

          • Stu Cazz

            Your initial comment criticizing Murray Edwards is a joke! Murray Edwards is a respected successful business man that has provided millions in business tax payments as well as business opportunities and employment for thousands of Albertan’s! Moving to another country is a personal decision and if it results in reduced tax payments good on him.

            What have you accomplished armchair GM??

          • MontanaMan

            Preach it Stu. Edwards has employed thousands of people and has given tens of thousands of Canadians well paying jobs. But don’t let the facts get in the way. Half the crowd on this site couldn’t run a business or recognize a business leader if their life depended on it. Of course, making a “profit” is an ugly concept in Canada which is why businesses are funnelling all of their budget money to the US.

      • RedMan

        i must be a greedy bastard too, because i try, even with my small income, to pay as little taxes as possible. I don’t think there is anyone in the world that tells his tax accountant, “listen, i want to be fair, even if that means I pay more taxes than is required of me under law” in fact, i am pretty sure that all tax payers have the same motive and idea – to pay only the taxes required by law. we all do things to minimize our tax exposure, i.e. leasing instead of buying/amortizing.

        that being said, it is still bad optics to ‘move’ to reduce exposure while simultaneously asking for tax dollars from the average tax payers who are struggling in a bad oil economy and currently being introduced to the NDP’s tax and spend social experiment

        • Derzie

          Do you pay taxes in a foreign country instead? If not, then you are not the ‘greedy bastard’ Edwards is. No one likes taxes but to avoid them only hurts your fellow countrymen. When making statements about paying taxes think of those less fortunate rather than your own pockets. It helps.

        • Parallex

          I can’t let that last sentence stand… “the NDP’s tax and spend social experiment”?

          First off, governments principally derive the bulk of their revenue from taxation so “tax & spend” isn’t an “experiment” it’s just how governments operate.

          Secondly, the true experiment (and consequently the true author of the current fiscal issues hindering Alberta) was Ralph Klein and his “Alberta Advantage” which I think would be fair to characterize as ultimately a “Spend & Spend experiment” as opposed to tax and spend.

  • Derzie

    When times are tough and your reliable old car works just fine, you don’t go car shopping. But you do plan as to when that car needs to be replaced and if you plan to junk it (ride it into the ground) or sell it while it still has miles left.

    Same logic applies here. The dome is reliable and works well. It has areas to improve and won’t last forever. To use the car analogy, no one is ‘buying’ the dome after the Flames are done. A big part of getting a new facility is dealing with the old one. If there is a use for the land that is not dome related, I’d be surprised. The prudent pitch to the city is to gracefully wind down at the dome and build a new facility there. Smart people can figure out the transition. The husk of the Corral is a front & center reminder that jumping to a new place without a plan for the old is wasteful.

    Lastly, Ken King needs to be out of the picture. With this bid he has shown that he is woefully out of touch with the real world. He was on the Fan960 the other day talking about missing golf to work on a rebuttal to the city’s review. Does he have any idea of how arrogant and out of touch that is with the listeners & taxpayers?

  • Hubcap1

    I hate tom keep harping this but there’s lots of land just south of the East Village community development that is in full swing and looking good. Stampede Park to the south of that with lots of open space for parking and other infrastructure built right in.

    Oh and wake up Murray and fire that hack Ken King already.

    • nikkomsgb

      Another point of interest, in terms of what killed this, is the timing.

      Calgary bidding on the 2026 Olympics is turning into the worst kept secret in town, and with that said….not being able to begin construction until sometime between 2022 and 2026 makes this deader than dead.

      Where the Flames might otherwise have flogged this dead horse for a while, I doubt they will now.

      The budgets and numbers could all have been manipulated a little here and there…but that was an ugly timeline for remediation. Especially with all the potential litigation it would generate.

  • BurningSensation

    I think the ‘problems’ with CalgaryNext were/are;

    – Location. The proposed area requires other peoplesmoney to clean up, and carries a host of traffic/access issues even if it came through

    – Zero appetite on City Council to use public funds for a private enterprise from the Mayor on down.

    – Structure of the revenue streams and ownership of thd building. So the Flames keep all the money but the City owns the building and is responsible for repairs/upgrades? That wont fly.

    – Timing. Not just the crash in oil prices (which really hurts), but just the fact we’ve seen this movie played out before, most recently up North. With how that hostage taking went fresh in everyones minds (will we see Lanny MacDonald and Murray Edwards in an owners box in Seattle chumming the waters?) the public is jaded in a way the owners havent dealt with before. Everything about the approach was a combination of tone deaf boosterism, aggressive greed, and stale ‘it will improve the downtown’ rhetoric. What was surely hoped to be a groundswell of public support curdled quickly.

    – Lack of acknowledgment that there are other options. So far the Flames have yet to addresss even the slightest criticism of the plan, or even recognize they were shooting for the moon.

    I remain very curious how this will all play out.

  • Drexel

    Given what we now know about this project, its astonishing that a group of such successful people could come up with such a crackpot plan full of so many obvious holes.

    After finally having the “Fire Ken King” chorus dying down, will this be the thing that finally brings him down?

    • I honestly don’t see how KK can keep his job after this if we assume their intentions to develop on WV land was genuine.

      However, there is a small trail of evidence that suggests this was merely smoke and mirrors all along.

      First, the whole there is no plan b comment. Honestly, what respectable business has a huge idea ($900m dollar idea) and only has one location/one option in place. Furthermore, what respectable company shoots themselves in the foot by publically stating they only have option A and no B. It’s bad optics all around. This suggest to me that it was all part of the smoke and mirrors.

      Second, how Ken King kept backtracking whenever pressed about the issue saying: “Well, even if this thing doesn’t work out we’re just glad to have kick-started a conversation about an area that needs clean up and revitalization anyhow.” Sounded a lot to me like we know this will never work we’re just playing games to see if we can get the city to gives us a more favourable deal where we have plans to develop all along – stampede grounds perhaps?

      Lasty, the very amateur/non committal plans put forward – stay with me here but if your plan all along is to throw out a completely awful idea that makes taxpayers bawk and cry “no public money” then come back with okay well we’ll do it in a better location and spend more of our own money but we want the city to help out this much (more reasonabe amount). Then why would you pay for a professional company to put forward professional plans. As I understand the plans for CNEXT were designed by first and second year urban design engineering students at UofC as part of a class project.
      My friend was in the class but didnt participate (it was an optional project for extra credit instead of an exam or something). He said those that did had to sign a waiver of nondisclosure and everything.

      My guess is we’ll see designs from populous or gec or the company that did the Hockey Canada building at COP with the second proposal. And they’ll be the sort of blow your mind this is awesome kind of designs we expected out of the first proposal.
      I mean after watchig the whole thing go down in edmonton you can’t tell me there’s no way they’d really put out half assed less than spectacular designs fir a project they really want to build when everything up north looks pretty shiny and bright and done right.
      then again you just never know with KK do you.

  • Something else I just remembered too…
    this same thing happened when the Saddledome was built.

    Seaman bros and Co. wanted to build on WV land (obviously a concept the org. never let go of). The city bawked at the idea and wouldn’t budge.
    Look what happened — the Saddledome ended up being built with public money on the grounds.

    I seriously wonder if this is the Flames group repeating the same strategy.

    • Backburner

      I think you might be on to something here..

      The timing of the rejection for the CalgaryNext proposal couldn’t be better, with the CMLC working on development of the new Stampede Park… it wouldn’t be a bad “Ask for the moon” strategy from the Flames Group.

    • Parallex

      Probably a modified version of that strategy…

      Let’s be frank, however much Ken King duplicitously tries to sell a city owned arena as a perk to the city the fact is that CS&E would have absolutely no interest in actually owning the arena. They want the proverbial milk for free.

  • beloch

    Now that Plan A is being lowered into the ground as bagpipes play, let’s think about what would make Plan B work.

    Here are some things I’d like to see:

    1. Either build just an arena or split the facilities up and spread them around. Reducing the size of the black hole limits it’s impact on surrounding infrastructure.
    2. Let’s stop pretending a NHL arena is going to be a focal point of a vibrant residential community. If you build an arena in a residential area it will mostly be a nuisance for the locals. On game/performance nights it will draw an influx of outsiders who will park in any legal or illegal space they can find. On off-nights it will stand empty and conjure up ghosts. NHL arenas aren’t places where people go to sell crafts, hold hands, and sing kumbaya. It’s probably better to build a new arena in a space that is already commercial, such as the Stampede grounds or the current site of McMahon stadium.
    3. There needs to be a plan for the end of an arena’s life, and that starts with the Saddledome. The ‘dome is a substandard venue for most performances for several reasons. Can it pay for it’s own upkeep without the Flames as tenants and with the new arena drawing other performers away to boot? If the Flames can help the city solve this problem then that’s one less thing working against Plan B. As it stands, it’s not in the city’s best interests to help the Flames turn the Saddledome into a costly liability for them.
    4. If the city and CSEC jointly build an arena, they should be joint owners. The notion of the city owning the arena and CSEC leasing it from them and collecting all profits is idiotic. Ownership of this sort is purely a liability, as the City will have the same problem with the new arena as they’re about to have with the Saddledome. If CSEC is a joint owner, not only will it be in their interest to find a viable end-of-life solution, they will be sharing the cost if this effort fails, unlike what is probably going to happen with the Saddledome.
    5. If Plan B is going to rely on significant government funding, then it needs to treat the government as a partner instead of as a chump. Plan A’s finance structure (e.g. the CRL) accounted for all possible benefits to the city in advance and made it very unlikely for the city to do more than break even. If the public pays for 50% of the construction costs, 50% of operating profits need to find their way into the public purse. It’s that simple. Such a deal should probably operate off of percentages of gross sales, as net profits are simply too easy to hide. (e.g. How many Hollywood blockbuster hits are actually net-losers these days, thanks to creative accounting?)
  • Stu Cazz

    What went wrong with Calgarynext was that this project was announced and championed by Ken King, a private business man. The project should have been championed by the Mayor as a development opportunity for the West downtown core. It was destined to fail right from the initial announcement and media gathering….Ken King is a newspaper man trying to run a sports conglomerate and has proven that his tact for Calgarynext was wrong and has done more harm to the reputation of the Flames ownership group than is deserved.

    As well his outright statement that there was no plan B was foolish to say the least. Numerous alternate plans have been reviewed and will now be progressed….

  • oddclod

    Great article.

    Now please return to stampede headquarters and complete the (Red) Mile that Iggy and Kipper built.

    Link Calgary’s natural dining / bar district (17th Ave), with a true sports and entertainment district (stampede park). Also, a beautiful boardwalk would be complete, extending from the National Music Center, through stampede park to 17th Avenue.

    Forget the Stampeders for now. It’s minor league football anyways. Please give us our Hockey Mecca!

  • KACaribou

    Ken King never met a microphone he didn’t like. I am certain this project wasn’t his doing, but he should have talked ownership into fixing the issues Kent brings up here before ever stepping up to the mic.

    This is the ultimate Bungle in the Jungle.

  • I do think the Flames will push hard on the combined facility aspect no matter where they build. It’s clear they want to have all their athletes under the same roof, or at the very least on the same street. Fiscally from a running multiple franchises standpoint it makes more sense financially. This is a big part of where their 330M in savings comes from. They tried to sell it as public savings from an environmental perspective. But really we all know it means all events share one kitchen loading doc etc. It all amounts to savings for CSEC rather than paying two kitchen staffs, multiple trucks to go to two locations etc, they all go the same place. I am confident, ergo, that’s probably going to be a non starter for them. Stampede Park does make sense because there is enough room there to combine facilities. The problem is it will require sacrfices on both sides between the Sampede and the CSEC resulting probably in some sort of partnership on revenue in some way whether through parking or what have you. As Stampede probably doesn’t want to give up a major parcel of realestate for free.

    But Yes with the Stampede 50 year plan if the Flames do it right and make the arena modern enough that they would only have t do rennovations to. A true LA/LIVE style entertainmet and fairgrounds district around Stampede park would be the vision that would sell the thing.

    I mean imagine taking in a morning show of some amateur theater company in the new youth campus park. Going for lunch along 17th… heading over to the Stamps game at 6 or 7 and then hitting the casino til 3/4am – not for everyone I know. AN expensive night out but that is the whole point of a district right. That would ideally be the definition of a 24/7 useable area.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    All I have been reading about here are problems, not solutions. So here is the latter and its a doozy. Build the new sports arenas on Tsuu T’ina Nation.

    The first step to do this would involve the retirement of the outdated Indian Act which prohibits First Nations peoples from turning their lands into economic hubs, and leaves many of these areas as third-world slums amidst one of the richest countries in the world.

    Negotiate a deal with the chiefs for use of the land and the supporting infrastructure to support the arenas. One clause would be that at least 25% of the construction crews would be made up of First Nations peoples and at least the same percentage of workers once the facilities are up and running. By doing this, you get a huge reduction in First Nations’ unemployment.

    It is not just building a couple of sports barns. It is also building the necessary infrastructure to support the facilities. This would expediting the construction of the southwest ring road as well as a transit link that would include the C-Train. The construction of all this would take many years so the economic benefits of this project would be sustained for a long time regardless of the price of oil. Long-term meaningful jobs would be available to many.

    Tsuu T’ina Nation already has a casino, entertainment centre, meeting facilities and hotel, so adding a hockey rink and a football stadium makes sense and would continue to transform Tsuu T’ina into Las Vegas North.

    Finally, the current leadership of Tsuu T’ina Nation is the most progressive and forward-thinking of all the First Nations in Canada. These chaps clearly have a vested interest in doing what is best for their people and the people of Calgary and surrounding areas. They are absolutely open for business.