Budget Hiccups Press Pause On Flames Arena

By Ben Hamill - April 16 2021

Budget Hiccups Press Pause On Flames Arena

Hiccups continue to prevail as the City of Calgary and the owners of the Calgary Flames try to agree on ongoing differences about how the available budget for the multi-million-dollar shared arena development should be spent. The parties have put the latest stall down to a gap between the initial budget estimate and the actual cost and program requirements applicable to the facility.

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, which is the city entity tasked with overseeing the $550 million dollar project, this week revealed the existence of a significant “difference”. The revelation was apparently made as part of an update to Calgary council delivered on April 13. According to an emailed statement released by the CMLC, the latest budget meeting was conducted behind closed doors.

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Fans At The Heart Of Design

The email furthermore referred to the project being the result of a program especially created for the comfort and to the liking of Calgary fans – a sports arena supporters will be proud of to have in their city and surroundings. According to the CMLC email, the team has all throughout the design process kept fans and their pride in the team and arena in mind.

The email also confirms that the parties have mutually agreed to push the pause button on the project until such time as the budget difference has been resolved.

Councillor Jeromy Farkas, the man currently running for the position of new mayor, is one of the development’s opponents. Farkas voted against the project when it appeared before council the first time round. The mayoral hopeful has explained his no-vote as the result of his opinion that the project will rely on the meeting of unrealistic financial and budgeting goals. Farkas added that there exists a very real chance that taxpayers will end up footing the bill for the bulk of the arena’s costs. And it’s a budget Farkas said looked like it had already been burned all the way through.

Opposite Opinions Prevail

Farkas this week said that in the event of the project indeed being over budget, it is the duty of the city to come clean with Calgarians. He said that in his own personal opinion, not even a single penny more should be spent on the project.

Current mayor Naheed Nenshi, who incidentally will not be running for another term in office, has in the meantime said that it is far better than budget and other issues be resolved during the early stages of the project than at any point near finalisation.

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