It took awhile, but the final major administrative hurdle is finally cleared for the new home of the Calgary Flames. The arena project had its development permit approved by the Calgary Planning Commission by an unanimous 8-0 vote following over five hours of questions and debate on Thursday night.
The approval comes with some provisos, though: the development permit carries with it 37 prior to release conditions, which need to be met before the permit is fully released, and another 40 permanent conditions that must be addressed during the construction process. (There were originally 39 permanent conditions, but one was added at the meeting.)
The project will require a building permit to actually gets shovels in the ground, and there’s a 21 day period in which appeals can be made to the development permit approval. But once the prior to release conditions are met, the appeals are dealt with and the building permit is in hand, all-out construction can begin. (Based on the appeal window, the earliest that the building permit could be issued is Dec. 9.)
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The arena saga has been going on for… awhile. It really kicked into high gear in August 2015 with the unveiling of the ill-fated CalgaryNEXT project slated for the west side of downtown. After some negotiations between the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation and the city – occasionally contentious negotiations – discussions shifted to a new facility on the east side of downtown, and the project was eventually approved by City Council in July 2019.
The process becomes a bit of a sprint now. While there are rumours of a ground-breaking ceremony of some sort in December – we’ll check on that – full-on construction is expected to begin in early 2022 and they will need to hurry to have the building ready for operations when the NHL season begins in the fall of 2024. Before the delays this year, groundbreaking was slated for August 2021 and completion for May 2024. With that timeline shifted a by few months, every bit of build time will be extremely valuable in getting things completed on time.
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