It was a long, ugly campaign and a long, ugly day of voting – marred by long lines and occasional lack of ballots at some polling stations – but the 2017 Calgary municipal election is finally over. If the Calgary Flames were hoping to get a fresh start with a new City Council, they’ll probably be disappointed, because the voters of Calgary are bringing back basically the same council as we’ve seen over the past four years.
Heck, the incoming council might actually be even less likely to support big financial outlays for a new Flames arena.
The big news of the evening was that Naheed Nenshi was re-elected for a third term as Calgary’s mayor, coming on the heels of a very public spat with Flames president Ken King, dueling versions of each side’s “last offer,” and Bill Smith For Mayor ads seen during the first two Flames home games of the season.
Remember this video from mid-September, which kicked off all of the hubbub between Nenshi and the Flames? Well, expect to hear a lot more about the “Cultural and Entertainment District” as the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation continues their work in Victoria Park.
Also back from the previous council – who were more or less united in their opposition to the Flames’ “last deal” according to comments by Nenshi prior to the election – are Ward Sutherland (Ward 1), Joe Magliocca (Ward 2), Sean Chu (Ward 4), Druh Farrell (Ward 7), Evan Wooley (Ward 8), Gian-Carlo Carra (Ward 9), Ray Jones (Ward 10), Shane Keating (Ward 12), Diane Colley-Urquhart (Ward 13) and Peter Demong (Ward 14). That’s 11 of 15 votes on council carried over from the last round of negotiations.
They’re joined by:
- Ward 3’s Jyoti Gondek, whose website doesn’t have anything specific on the arena (and who didn’t answer Common Sense Calgary’s survey) but whose campaign priorities seem incompatible with subsidizing it directly. (She’s probably the biggest X-factor on the new council.)
- Ward 5’s George Chahal, who told Common Sense Calgary that he views the arena as a real estate transaction with the Flames as a tenant.
- Ward 6’s Jeff Davison, who doesn’t support tax dollars subsidizing a new arena (but supports a partnership more generally).
- Ward 11’s Jeromy Farkas, who doesn’t support tax dollars subsidizing a new arena (and doesn’t like the emphasis on tax dollars in the two proposals).
In other words? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Everyone on council seems to support the idea of a new arena in Victoria Park and some manner of partnership between the City and the Flames, but considering the new councillors all trumpeted fiscal prudence to one degree or another, it seems quite unlikely that this council will be supportive of a big cash handout.