A lot of arena-related news is on the horizon

If you’re looking for new information about the possibility of a new building for the Calgary Flames, you’ve probably noticed there hasn’t been much openly discussed in the past few months. While there’s a flurry of activity going on behind the scenes in various agencies and with various entities, nothing has been trumpeted about it publicly.

Well, we’re starting to see the very tip of the iceberg in terms of arena-related announcements and activities. This week, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation formally announced what had been informally mentioned in the past: they’re working on a master plan for Victoria Park. The unveiling of that master plan is one in a series of dominoes that will begin to topple during this spring and summer.

The CMLC’s Master Plan is important because of the area it encompasses.


The Master Plan for East Victoria Park will honour and integrate
previous and future plans and projects, including Calgary Stampede’s
envisioned expansion, the City’s quest for a viable site for a new arena
facility, the Green Line extension of Calgary’s LRT and, of course, the
East Village master plan.

Essentially, the Master Plan contains everything south of 9th Avenue down to the Elbow River. That means that Stampede Park – the current home of the Flames (in the Saddledome) and the speculated future home (the vaunted “Plan B”) – will be taken into account.

The Master Plan’s expected June unveiling is the third of four expected dominoes to topple by mid-summer which will tell us almost everything we’ll need to know about the Flames’ future facility.

  • How much will a potential “Plan B Arena” cost? Y’know, just an arena and not a gigantic mega-project? The report detailing options, sites and costs associated with such an undertaking is expected to be at City Council before the end of March.
  • If the arena goes in Stampede Park, its location is probably dependent on what happens with the Green Line LRT. The alignment of the Green Line through the Beltline – 10th Avenue or 12th Avenue – is expected to be finalized by the Spring, at which point what space is available and where will become pretty clear.
  • The CMLC Master Plan is expected to be ready in June. Since we’ll know how much Plan B Arena will cost and where the Green Line LRT will be located, you could probably reasonably expect those two things to be incorporated into the Master Plan in some way – assuming that Council doesn’t kill either of those projects in the interim.
  • Finally, fundamentally related but also somewhat unrelated, the Olympic Bid Exploration Committee will have their recommendation on whether Calgary should vie for the 2026 Winter Games in July. If a new arena is included in that bid, it’s bad (because the International Olympic Committee’s new rules dissuade building new stuff) but if the arena is happening anyway independent of the bid, it helps the bid.

Nothing is really happening in front of the curtain right now. But a flurry of activity is happening behind that curtain and when it gradually pulls back between now and July, we’ll know a lot more about the future of Stampede Park and the future of the Flames’ home.

  • Newbietwo

    If the city keeps making old school dumb moves I’ll take my $1 million in ten years of taxes and move elsewhere.. this is becoming Detroit by the minute

      • Newbietwo

        This is what I do know! It’s that we have a major contaminated area right downtown of our city and nothing has been done to fix it! and moving the location of said new stadium is nothing but a PR move to avoid having to address it..

        Furthermore same goes for addressing the fact we have a football stadium most colleges would be embarrassed about and we don’t even have a field house.

        Lastly downtown is a ghost town after 8pm Friday and doing it in West Village helps to change that.

        This is more than just a an stadium!

          • Parallex

            Considering his excessive use of exclamation points, parroting of conservative dogma, and enthusiastic endorsement of public handouts to billionaires I think we may have accually found Donald Trump’s account.

        • JoelOttosJock

          And how is this making calgary like Detroit? Your comparison was quite absurd. Detroit is a city that was run into bankruptcy..with an owner who still built a state of the art building. Sounds like you should be working in the trump administration..bowling Green massacre? Haha. Oh and you’ll pay 1mmillion in taxes in 10 years? Don’t think..you’re a fu*@/ng idiot

          • Newbietwo

            If you don’t evolve you die! We are not evolving not in urban development nor in business diversification! No it’s not absurd! The rest of your post I am not going to comment on because it’s like a simple response from an average Vancouver residents mindset.

            We can all do better!

  • Newbietwo

    Keep ticking negativies folks but this city needs to modernize or it will die! You are likely the ones that voted for the damn NDP that is killing thisprovince

    • cunning_linguist

      The NDP is a disaster, and the majority of Albertans did not vote for them. One of the reasons they are a disaster because of reckless spending and taxation policies that are making our economy uncompetitive and burying us in debt for years to come…I find it hilariously ironic that you’re advocating for spending even more of our tax dollars…you’re accusing us of supporting those orange morons and yet you’re acting just like them

      • McRib

        Politics on a Hockey Blog fun stuff. The biggest disaster was longer term with the PCs failing to diversify this economy away from just Oil & Gas for 40+ years (I understand the value of O&G working in the industry myself, but it was highly foolish to not create any other economy whatsoever). Actually thinking about it further the even bigger short term disaster was Ed Stelmach eliminating the Canadian Oil trusts.

        Our economy is improving rapidly as we speak if you haven’t noticed under the NDP this year (mostly because OPEC feeezed production, resulting in the price of O&G going back up. Which ironically still speaks to how reliant we are on O&G). Anyway rabble rabble rabble TAXES rabble rabble rabble TAXES…


        A 4th Generation Albertan whose doesn’t blindly follow Conservatives because his parents do (and taxes and stuff).

        • MontanaMan

          You don’t blindly follow Conservatives? Good for you. Make up your own mind. But “the economy rapidly improving under the NDP” is foolishness. Who exactly is benefitting from increased taxes, the implementation of a carbon tax (which impacts all home and all goods purchased) and NDP policies? I know of no one benefitting unless you are a government worker. If the NDP wanted to demonstrate they have any idea what’s going on in the province, they would reduce taxes, not increase them, reduce government workers and cut wages of those left by 5%. That would be a good start but will never happen under this government.

          • MarbledBlueCheese

            So long as we’re doing politics–

            Policy is broad and not easily generalized. Your comments are no doubt accurate. However, do note that lower income Albertans may be coming out ahead on carbon tax issues due to rebates. Furthermore, the NDP decreased the small business/corporate tax rate. Instead of 14%, it’s now 12.5%. That’s allowed me to do better by my employees.

            You know, mixed bag, complex, and so on.

            Oh, and re: hockey–Backlund Backlund Backlund

        • kittensandcookies

          O&G now makes up only about 25% of Alberta’s GDP. About 20 years ago it was about 40% of GDP.

          I know this is hard for young people to understand, but government can’t just make up industries.

          You know that Nenshi and his merry band of sycophants have been trying for about 18 months to bring head offices over here? Heard any successes?

  • freethe flames

    The city won’t die if we don’t build a new arena etc. Taxpayers funding billionaires is so passee. Is it better to leave the land alone and trickle out the poison or take a chance and move it and possibly cause a greater problem. Where will the dirt that moves go? What are other potential environmental related hazards associated with such a process? I don’t know the answer but I would like to know before we put shovels into the ground.

    • Newbietwo

      They re process the soil they don’t move it!! That is the whole point but currently all that poison is going into the river!!!

      As for your comment that tax payers are funding billionaires is utterly ridiculous! The city will own the facilities!

    • MontanaMan

      First, the City needs to contribute to any project in the West Village. The area is a dump and will never be modernized unless there is incentive. Who do you think is going to take on the 10’s of millions of dollars to remove the creosote? Not anyone \looking to expand their business. Like it or not, the former owner won’t be on the hook for the cleanup so if the City doesn’t enter into an agreement with an organization like the Flames, that end of the downtown will only deteriorate further. If people are okay with that, so be it, but don’t expect another organization to come along and take the hit for the cleanup because there aren’t any. The City partners with the Flames or that area likely never gets developed.

      • Brent G.

        I do somewhat agree with what you are saying. This is the first legit argument for the original project I heard. That being said, spending $2 billion + today can’t be in the cards. Not today.

        Side thought…

        I wonder if the original plan was created as an anchoring mechanism. Suddenly if this new project only costs $500 million that’s not too bad right. The new project will definitely be more palatable but it’ll still be a fair chunk.

        • Newbietwo

          What fake news have you read that says $2 billion hahaha.. the city cost which isn’t even a cost more than a debt deferment of less that’s $300 million for a $900 million project and they get the redevelopment of that site the clean up and new facilities and buildings

  • freethe flames

    The city pays 75% or so of the cost and Flames get 100% of the profit and then when it needs to be upgraded the taxpayer pays all the bills and the Flames get all the profit. Great deal for someone. Here’s a better way to use tax payers money, clean the land up and sell it to developers and have them build inner city housing/malls/ etc and then collect taxes on these places. Use that tax money to fund a new arena/field house etc.

  • beloch

    If you want vibrant, lived in communities that are active all day and well into the night, you need to mix residential, business, and entertainment facilities without any one massively overwhelming the others. Downtown is almost all business and empties out at night. Stampede Park and the dome are mostly for entertainment and stand mostly empty when there isn’t an event going on. The city has endless suburbs that are dead because they’re nothing but endless rows of houses and everyone has to go elsewhere for both business and fun.

    CalgaryNEXT was a bad idea because it created a new entertainment mega-zone that would stand mostly empty the majority of the time. Yes, the plan called for condos on the periphery and made a lot of noise about creating a vibrant community, but that place would have been dominated by the empty hole in the middle of it. Add in the occasional inundation of game and concert-goers and you have a recipe for a neighborhood that would not have been pleasant to live in. Property values would not have been as high as predicted and the CRL funding structure would have screwed the city over massively.

    Putting an arena in stampede park does not create an entirely new hole in the fabric of the city, and splitting up the other facilities in the CalgaryNEXT proposal gives the city the opportunity to mix them into more vibrant areas of the city without throwing use balance out of whack. This doesn’t address the creosote contamination in the West village area nor does it ensure that the city will finally build a field house, but at least it doesn’t create entirely new problems for the city. It will just (possibly) make stampede park a little bigger.

    • RealMcHockeyReturns

      “CalgaryNEXT was a bad idea because it created a new entertainment mega-zone that would stand mostly empty the majority of the time”…Not at all…a field house for amateur athletics would get used about 350 days per year by many youth and adult groups.

  • Newbietwo

    Let’s set the record straight on a few things

    1. Calgary Next: Stop assuming and deal with facts! No this isn’t a $2 billion project and no the city doesn’t pay for it! It’s a standard corporate debt deferment project which happens in every other project the city under takes.. total cost for the city is $450 Million and that includes the clean up and of that $250 gets re imbursed to the city in way of taxes.. http://calgarynext.com/financing-plan.php

    2. To the bloke who NDPeed the site calling other that vote based on parents opinions.. I currently pay 49 percent tax which is 10 percent more than I did before!!! In addition everything else is now taxed higher also!!! Oh and let’s not forget the 1500 businesses that closed in the last year due mainly to the fact they couldn’t afford paying employees that swanky new minimum wage! Business friend environment isn’t it! Look mate not everyone wants to become a social blue city like Vancouver and for some that’s actually why they call Calgary home for its traditional values!

    I will not come to on this further because like just about everything most are informed

    • MontanaMan

      But your facts take away from the Millenial “my government doesn’t support billionaire owners and millionaire hockey players”. Where are these same people when the federal government is giving away billions of taxpayer dollars to third world countries for “green initiatives” / so their dictators can live more lavish lifestyles? Bottom line is that government needs to spend wisely and work the best deal for the taxpayer – nobody disagrees with that. And the same philosophy should hold true on Calgary NEXT. But saying government won’t be a partner at the table regardless of the option chosen is either naive or foolish.

      • Newbietwo

        Your assumptive responses obviously shows you never did read my comments! Of course they are involved “in a debt deferment” simply using capital to gain funding

  • Pond Hockey

    The Calgary Next proposal is complex, expensive and in the wrong location (why try to squeeze it onto a polluted piece of property with parking and access constraints?). The West Village is a prime location for urban development and will be transformed in good time.

    Keep it simple and put the new arena in Victoria Park, or nearby area.

  • ComeOn

    Regarding the creosote issue in the West Village, I find that speculation and misinformation around this is a favorite whipping point of the anti-NEXT folks.

    I’ve worked on projects in Eau Claire that suffered from the creosote issue. Much of the river valley downtown suffers from it to some degree, you may notice that there’s been more than a few new towers built in the area!

    The average person doesn’t get exposed to ‘Risk Assessment’ in the context of environmental issues. To oversimplify it, it goes like this: kindergarten kids will roll around in and eat this dirt five days a week all year long (I know they don’t) and it’s very heavily contaminated…no go, the exposure risk is too high.

    It gets a little more interesting IF the supposedly colossal level of pollution is in fact moderate, the buildings are not continuously occupied, and or some mitigative measures are taken during construction (measures which have extremely low risk of failure over the life of the area…think several hundred years) to limit the exposure potential to residents and users of the area.

    I don’t know the specifics of the area, but I know a hell of a lot more on the subject than the average reporter that smears the project. The point is, you’re not going to dig up every cubic meter of polluted soil to make this workable, and those that state that you will are uninformed and sometimes worse.

  • Valar Morghulis

    They won’t need a new building. It’s corporate support that’s always kept the Phlegms alive and without that they’ll be relocating very soon.