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.
“The Flames franchise is worth hundreds of millions and is owned by some of Canada’s wealthiest people. We think they can pay for it themselves.”
Flames ownership group is asking the city to front $200 million for the complex it was planning to spend — but still doesn’t have — on a new fieldhouse at Foothills Athletic Park.
Ownership is also asking the city to approve a $240-million community revitalization levy, where tax revenue over and above current taxation would come from residential and commercial developments near the facility.
The CTF said many arenas across Canada have been built without tax dollars, including the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, the Bell Centre in Montreal, the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa and Rogers Arena in Vancouver.