The people of Quebec City and Edmonton are falling prey to one of the oldest con games – the notion that spending public money on pro sports venues is a sound investment.
Facts don’t seem to matter in this game. And your city could be fleeced next.
Stacks of independent research over many decades have shown that building a stadium or luring a new franchise does little for a city’s economy. They typically don’t generate significant new tax dollars, jobs or growth. In most cases, the money would be more wisely spent on badly needed public infrastructure, such as roads, transit or schools
The Flames and an amateur sports group, arguing about how much new facilities would cost, neither of which have any expertise in the matter other than they would be the beneficiaries of taxpayer expenditures. Whatever number they use, it is like when a child wants $1 it asks for $5.
And having seen many public undertakings over years, we know that final costs are always multiples of original estimates.
Liberal cabinet minister Kent Hehr says Ottawa won’t cough up cash for a new Calgary Flames arena but he left the door open to federal dollars for other aspects of the CalgaryNEXT proposal. In an interview this week, the Calgary Centre MP and Veterans Affairs Minister said the Trudeau government is maintaining the policy of the former Conservative…
The Calgary Flames’ ambitious vision to build a professional and amateur sports complex in the West Village hit a major roadblock Wednesday following the release of a city analysis showing CalgaryNEXT could cost ultimately about $1.8 billion and have taxpayers pay up to two-thirds of the tab. It’s a staggering sum that city hall insiders believe…
No experienced independent, objective viewpoint saw, from the beginning, this proposal being less than $2 billion, with the City being on the hook for most of it.
But, don’t expect the Flames to stop here; and, there will be some Councilors supporting them. Furthermore, the creosote soil contamination will be judged manageable and the health risk negligible. After all, the land has been continuously occupied and no one has dies yet.
This analysis fails to include the cost of infrastructure, such as the rebuilding of Crowchild Trail and Bow Trail; electrical and gas lines; and the capability fo the Bow River to absorb the additional effluent.
This is an example of a politician talking about something outside her range of expertise. She should talk to the finance minister who will tell her that there isn’t any money for a proposed Flames arena.
We do not elect Councilors to build billion dollar arenas. We elect them to build parks and roads, provide water and electricity, and remove snow. They do not have a mandate to commit massive public funds for private business (the Flames).
Let the public decide in a binding plebiscite or referendum. Better yet, make it a major election issue in the next civic election1
Early analysis suggests using a $200-million community revitalization levy to partially bankroll the Calgary Flames group’s mega sports complex in west downtown won’t work, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said in a recent year-end interview. This summer, Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. pitched an ambitious plan to build a new NHL arena, CFL stadium and public field…
With Calgary Sport and Entertainment Corp. formally requesting to build Ca
lgaryNEXT on a 130-acre plot known as West Village next to downtown — a project which could require up to $690 million in taxpayer funding to cover the estimated $890 million tab — the Sun decided to take a look at some other major stadium projects completed and under constr
“I have consistently expressed that I am not in favour of public money or free land going toward for-profit organizations. Calgarians would have to see a significant public benefit from CalgaryNEXT, for money or free land to be given.” Councilor Druh farrell
Consultants and politicians say extensive market and economic feasibility studies must be done before a $240-million community revitalization levy is approved to partially finance a proposed multi-sport complex in downtown Calgary’s west end. Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp., which owns the Calgary Flames, Stampeders, Hitmen and Roughnecks, has proposed using the levy to help fund…
A high-ranking official for a Canadian economic think tank is laying out how CalgaryNEXT could be approved with the contribution of taxpayer money. Glen Hodgson, Senior VP and Chief Economist with the Conference Board of Canada, said while research suggests new sports facilities don’t create a net benefit to a local economy, they could be […]
The Calgary Flames ownership group is standing on the steps of City Hall, lips quivering, arms outstretched, fedoras in hand. They need hundreds of millions of our tax dollars for a so-called city building project, a downtown NHL arena and sports complex dubbed CalgaryNEXT. If you have a problem with that, “then what’s your competing…
DAVE DORMER firstname.lastname@example.org @SUNDaveDormer
After announcing plans to build an $890 million arena, event centre and fieldhouse, the next step for Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. officials will be to begin meeting with various levels of government, said president and CEO Ken King, while city officials will start engaging Calgarians and looking into the cleanup of the creosote-contaminated site.
“Essentially this is the
Formal request,” said King. “What we want to do now is begin the dialogue on a (Community Revitalization Levy), that’s a dialogue that takes place between the (Calgary Municipal Land Corp., which manages cityowned lands) the city and the province.”
When it comes to the environmental cleanup of the proposed CalgaryNEXT’s West Village site, there’s no precedent for the province stepping in to cover the cost, said the premier.
“We have operated in this province for many years on a principle of polluter pay and there’s really no precedent of the province stepping in to pay the cost of remediation when a polluter has contaminated a piece of property,” Premier Rachel Notley said during a visit to the Calgary-Foothills riding Wednesday evening.
The Calgary Flames plan to unveil “high-level” information next Tuesday about a project dubbed “Calgary NEXT,” adding fuel to ongoing speculation about the team’s plans for a new arena and what it may ask of taxpayers as part of the proposal.
“We would like to share a proposal for a project that will make all Calgarians and Albertans proud,” King wrote in an email to seasonticket holders, copies of which circulated online Wednesday. “This has the potential to be one of Calgary’s most transformative projects at a vital time in our city’s history.”
A source with knowledge of the proposal told Metro the Flames are expected to ask the city for roughly $200 million toward the multi-use facility, which would not only provide a home to the NHL team and the Calgary Stampeders, but also include a multisport fieldhouse for public use.
The city has already approved a concept plan — but hasn’t secured funding — to build a new fieldhouse at Foothills Athletic Park with a price tag “in the range of $200 million,” the source noted.
The idea would be to instead incorporate that into the Flames’ project in the West Village area, just west of downtown, as opposed to building a “standalone” facility at Foothills, the source said. In his email, King said more detailed information is to be released Tuesday.
“This is not a formal launch of the project, but it is an opportunity for us to share what has been done to date and introduce our vision for the future,” he wrote.
Over the past 15 years, more than $12 billion in public money has been spent on privately owned stadiums. Between 1991 and 2010, 101 new stadiums were opened across the country; nearly all those projects were funded by taxpayers. The loans most often used to pay for stadium construction—a variety of tax-exempt municipal bonds—will cost the federal government at least $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to bondholders. Stadiums are built with money borrowed today, against public money spent tomorrow, at the expense of taxes that will never be collected. Economists almost universally agree that publicly financed stadiums are bad investments, yet cities and states still race to the chance to unload the cash. What gives?
The Calgary Flames have a motto for their players — “nothing given, everything earned.” It’s a mantra the NHL team’s executives would do well to embrace as they lobby governments for hundreds of millions of’ dollars to build the entertainment complex and urban redevelopment project they’re proposing to transform the city’s west end. Ken King, chief executive of Calgary Sports and…
The provincial and federal governments bear some responsibility in remediating contaminated land in the city’s West Village where the owners of the Calgary Flames and Stampeders hope to build an $890-million sports complex, says Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
First, soil remediation at the proposed arena site has been underway for years, begging the question of who is paying for that. Whoever that is, by paying the cost, has accepted liability and is responsible for completing the clean-up.
Second, the polluter should pay, not just “help pay”.
Alberta In April 2012, it was proposed that the Alberta government change regulations so that the Community Revitalization Levy (CRL) could be applied to remediation costs “incurred by a private developer.”:18 “The CRL does not currently allow the levy to be used for remediation costs incurred by a private developer. While the CRL is quite a comprehensive approach that is not widely used, it is suggested that a change in regulation to allow the levy to apply to remediation costs would provide inc
The City of Calgary now officially owns the GSL land on the western outskirts of downtown leading to speculation on what it plans to do with its real estate holdings of more than 12 hectares in the area along Bow Trail.
Just as Calgarians are divided on the merits and financing of a mega multi-sport complex proposed to replace the aging Saddledome and McMahon Stadium, so too is Calgary city council. After the owners of the Flames and Stampeders unveiled their long-awaited plans last week to construct an $890-million complex dubbed CalgaryNEXT, an exclusive poll for…
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) has renewed its petition opposing tax dollars for pro sports arenas, reflecting the Calgary Flames ownership’s recent request for public funds to build CalgaryNEXT.
Last week, Calgary Flames president Ken King unveiled an $890-million plan for a new arena, stadium and fieldhouse that would require a large buy-in from the city.
Calgary Flames ownership is expecting a possible $690 million — or more — from public funds to either front the money or pay a portion of the new sports complex, the CTF said in a press release.
“Pro sports complexes should be paid for with tickets, not taxes,” said CTF-Alberta Director Paige MacPherson, in a prepared release.
“One of the oldest con games – the notion that spending public money on pro sports venues is a sound investment.”
The Flames are asking every Calgarian for an initial $200 contribution for a new arena.
Sugar coating the request is a promise they will designate a small portion of the arena for amateur sports, so the the Foothills recreation site will not be needed (get it, the money for the Foothills site could then be spent on the Flames’ site).
Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.I SAY NO, but this is a controversial matter. So, let’s have a plebiscite. The public has a right to be heard.
No Councilor campaigned or was elected to commit us to such an enormous expense.