Wednesday, November 15, 2006

 

Front Page Challenge, cont'd.

See, this is what happens when you demand for Matt and I to both post. You can't keep up, people!

As an update to my post yesterday about the Oilers building an arena in downtown Edmonton--and more importantly, to the concern that public tax dollars would be used to do so--I provide you all with today's press release from the Government of Alberta, announcing its 2nd Quarter Fiscal Update. If you are from outside the province, you might want to stop and admire these lovely items:
Revenue has increased $2.7 billion from budget (up $1.2 billion from First Quarter forecast)
Expense has increased $1.4 billion from budget (up $47 million from First Quarter forecast)
The surplus is forecast at $5.4 billion, an increase of $1.3 billion from budget (up $1.2 billion from First Quarter forecast)

Sadly, to those of us who live in this province, those numbers have become ho-hum. So we'll move along to this interesting bit on Capital Projects, in the area of "Community Facilities, agricultural initiatives and other."

$320 million for aboriginal and affordable housing, agricultural research lands, CDC South Research Station, Stampede and Northlands associations, Commonwealth and McMahon stadiums, Rexall Place and Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary Olympic Development Association

That allocation is brand new, surfacing just today. How much will go to the arenas, and what it will be used for, will apparently "follow over the next week." But it certainly is interesting how we do business here in Alberta, isn't it?

Glove tap to Avi for the link.

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Comments:

Very interesting about the new money, and how they named the current facilities specifically.

One part of this debate I don't like is how people keep bringing up the provincial oil revenue and the return the EIG has gotten so far on their investment. I think both these things are more or less irrelevent and muddy the issue.

The Oilers have to decide how much more profitable they'll be with a new arena, and weigh that against the cost of construction. Past returns shouldn't factor in. Likewise, the taxpayers (read "provincial government") have to decide what, if any, gains a new arena creates for the community as a whole (read "is it politically expedient to do so?"). Again, I don't see why giant surpluses play any part in this equation.
 


On a slight tangent, albeit related to the topic, why would Calgary need a new arena? I remember reading some posturing about it in the Herald last year, and it struck me: they have a 19,289 seat arena, heavily renovated about 12 years ago, and distinctive among NHL arenas. I mean, at least Edmonton has the excuse that Northlands has 2,500 fewer seats than the 'Dome, but that's about all you're gonna get from me in that regard.
 


Well, we don't know what the money is for, and how much the stadiums will actually get. An interesting argument could be made by people NOT associated with the professional sports teams that the stadiums are used for lots of other things besides the pro sports. Concerts, ice capades, amateur sports, monster truck pulls, sex shows, wedding shows, rodeos, etc. Public spending might therefore be justifiable in that sense. I mean, if someone tells me it'll help get Andrew Dan Jumbo or Clay Aikens here more often, I'll be totally sold.
 


why would Calgary need a new arena?
Unfortunately, a lot of the same rationale for Rexall could be used for the Saddledome; its relatively old, Rexall is the third oldest (depending on how you calculate Madison Square Garden, 1968), but the Saddledome is not far behind, Joe Louis (1979) and Continental Airlines Arena (1981) being older than the 'dome. The majority of NHL arenas were built between 1995-2000, and its interesting to note that city or state governments own 14 of the 30 facilities.
 


I'm less enamoured with those numbers considering we still have to pay Health Care Tax, errrr, Premiums.
 


Unfortunately, a lot of the same rationale for Rexall could be used for the Saddledome; its relatively old, Rexall is the third oldest (depending on how you calculate Madison Square Garden, 1968), but the Saddledome is not far behind, Joe Louis (1979) and Continental Airlines Arena (1981) being older than the 'dome. The majority of NHL arenas were built between 1995-2000, and its interesting to note that city or state governments own 14 of the 30 facilities.

Still not seeing it. It's of above-average capacity, it has the luxury suites, it has all the modern amenities (though the JumboTron needs replacing). There's no reason that the 'Dome can't serve Calgary and the Flames for at least another 25 years, other than, "Waaaaah, I want a new toy like all the other kids, Mommy!"
 


Apparently Commonwealth will get new seats. There's been mention here and there that parts for the current seats are no longer produced, so fixing broken seats is, well, interesting. Also interesting is the Journal's reporting today that the seats are 38 years old...

- Rod
 

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