The first administrative step towards another new deal for a new home for the Calgary Flames went forward at Calgary’s city council meeting on Tuesday. Council voted to reform a committee to further work on the file.
The committee has a slightly different name and composition than the prior incarnation, but it’s very much operating with the same aims.
The old committee was called the Event Centre Assessment Committee. The new one is called the Event Centre Committee. Aside from the exclusion of the word “assessment,” the committee is very similar.
From the report to council, here’s the framing for the group:
The Committee’s work would be guided by a mandate to provide recommendations to Council after receiving and reviewing the information provided by Administration and its third party regarding the development of an Event Centre within a larger culture and entertainment district that meets the long-term goals of The City of Calgary including those embedded in the Downtown Strategy and Rivers District Master Plan.
Five voting members were appointed to the new committee:
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  • Ward 13 Councillor Dan McLean (member for Calgary Stampede; he’s on their board)
  • Ward 1 Councillor Sonya Sharp (member at large from city council)
  • Ward 8 Councillor Courtney Walcott (member for Calgary Municipal Land Corporation; he’s on their board)
  • Brad Parry (member for Calgary Economic Development)
  • Deborah Yedlin (member for the Calgary Chamber of Commerce)
(Other council members can attend committee meetings, they just can’t vote.)
The inclusion of these five individuals should tell you a lot about how this process will be steered. The old assessment committee did a lot of broad philosophical work about whether or not the city needs an event centre (arena) and what things should feed into it.
This new committee takes that work as a given, and is focusing more on the event centre as an investment opportunity for public funds and will likely look at any proposed deal from the perspective of whether it’ll further the work being done in developing the downtown area (broadly) and the Victoria Park/Rivers District (more specifically).
In other news: the third-party “deal-finder” has been appointed. Council received an update on their work in closed session, but the individual’s identity and their progress so far wasn’t publicly announced. (Per the council report, plans for a future announcement will be coming eventually.)
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There’s a lot of work being done behind the scenes that probably won’t become public until later, but we’re told there have been broad talks between the city and the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation in terms of figuring out what CSEC’s financial appetites and limitations are, so that the third-party deal-finder has boundary conditions set between council direction and CSEC’s discussions.
We’ll have more on this story as it continues to develop in the coming months.

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