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Arena deal survives City Hall vote

The Calgary Flames are going to have a new home in a few years. Yes, still. The deal between the Flames and the City of Calgary survived a reconsideration vote on Friday morning amidst city council’s contentious budget talks.

Posed by Ward 8 councilor Evan Woolley, the reconsideration motion required 10 votes to pass since it was reversing a prior council. Instead, Woolley was joined by the same three council members that voted his way during the July vote.

In their comments, Ward 9’s Gian-Carlo Carra noted the provincial government not honouring the terms of their arrangement with the city on Green Line funding – the cash flow has been drastically pushed back – and expressed frustration that some members of council wanted to do the same thing with a deal they had worked out with the Flames. The other members of council all offered some version of “Hey, didn’t we already discuss this and make a decision?”

In opposition, Woolley and Ward 11’s Jeromy Farkas argued that the funds could be better spent elsewhere given the city’s financial situation, while Ward 5’s George Chahal expressed frustration that the land aspects of the deal – the land swap between the city and the Stampede, and the Flames’ option to buy some nearby land – hadn’t been properly costed out and presented as part of the deal.

The whole exercise was largely a piece of political theatre. The arena deal lives on and the ink is expected to be dry on the legal agreements in early 2020.