I’m the last guy that should be talking politics. I don’t have the time of day for them, that’s why I’ve looked to avoid talking about the lockout and talking about the arena mess in Edmonton. Add to that, this is a sports website (although obviously this is a sports issue as well). But enough is enough and this is more of a one sided rant than an objective look at things. The city of Edmonton is a complete joke.
Just look at the track record of the city. It is known for dragging it’s feet with every single matter and what ends up happening in the end? Either projects never get done and the city looks like more and more of a **** hole, or they eventually get done for a much higher price than originally projected. This is once again what’s happening with this project.
And people not in the know about either side’s case can cry “Katz should pay for all of it” all they want. You know why Katz isn’t paying for all of it? Because most of the time when it’s just one guy making an investment like this they end up losing their shirts. When Molson originally owned the Canadiens they took a bath when they built what is now the Bell Centre and had to sell. The Ottawa Senators went bankrupt shortly after Rod Brydon built what was known as the Corel Centre. The Griffiths in Vancouver paid for what was known as GM Place in 1995, and had to sell everything by 1997.
Is that not enough proof for you that a public/private partnership is vital to this arena getting built?! Winnipeg did it, Pittsburgh did it, Seattle just announced yesterday that 200 million of public bonds are going towards their new arena. Katz is essentially putting in nearly half of the money needed to get the new arena built. The city is only in for 125 million. I’m not saying that’s nothing, but it certainly doesn’t seem like the Katz group is trying to screw them over when you compare it to how these deals went in other cities. The CRL is projected to generate 1.2-1.6 billion dollars, yet the city is only taking 40 million out of it in the deal that was agreed to last October. The money is there, they just don’t want to spend it. The city should be doing everything they can to get this done, to get something that could be the catalyst to revitalize downtown Edmonton. But just like this city ALWAYS does, they drag their feet and just dig the hole even deeper.
Now, I do firmly believe this project will get done, they aren’t going anywhere. But it shouldn’t have even come to the point of Katz and company flying to Seattle for this negotiating ploy. If the Oilers were to leave Edmonton the city would be devestated and it would be yet ANOTHER black eye on a city that could be great but continually refuses to clean up it’s act and take the steps needed to change that opinion of people from around the world that Edmonton is a terrible place to live and has nothing to offer.
The arena would drastically change things not just for the downtown but the perception of the city. It will never be San Diego obviously, but Edmonton should be a MUCH better city than it is and this process is just yet another example of why it isn’t.
This rant was brought to you by…nobody, but you should follow me on twitter @TJ_Soups