An Event Centre in Victoria Park has been planned since 2017, and has been part of the Culture & Entertainment District within the Rivers District Master plan since 2019 following an extensive engagement process.
Some of the claims and graphics circulating have removed a great deal of context from the discussion surrounding the Event Centre. The April 2023 agreement-in-principle includes critical infrastructure for the Rivers District, mobility improvements, a community rink, and site clearing/demolition costs.
The provincial government offered $330 million in funding to The City of Calgary within this agreement. This opened an opportunity for the City to complete our commitments in the Rivers District. The Province was not a partner in the 2021 Event Centre negotiations.
The City is investing $537.3 million to fund the development of the Event Centre, parking structure, the enclosed plaza, and 25% of the community rink.
CSEC is contributing:
The Province of Alberta:
Previous Event Centre negotiations had led to an application for a development permit. Costs for the project had increased from $550 million to $608.5 million by July 2021, to an estimated $630 million by December 2021. The City’s agreed-upon contribution was $297.5 million. In December 2021, an agreement between the City of Calgary and CSEC collapsed.
The necessary enabling infrastructure improvements around the Event Centre were the City’s responsibility. These were committed to in the 2021 agreement between the City and CSEC. For example, a pedestrian, wheeling and vehicle underpass was a commitment made by the City, but the associated costs and funding sources were not discussed.
To compare the cost sharing between the 2021 and 2023 agreements, we can adjust for inflation and include the costs of the Rivers District infrastructure that were not accounted for in the 2021 agreement:
The cost-sharing scenarios for both agreements can be better understood if the infrastructure and mobility costs are separated from the Event Centre itself:
The 2021 Event Centre deal did not include sufficient benefits to the community or the City for the agreement to make sense. The City was committed to half of a smaller Event Centre complex, plus the infrastructure, with no community rink, and more parking lots.
This agreement represents a generational investment in our city that will create a place where both Calgarians and visitors can make lifelong memories. The improvements in the area will include:
City Administration will begin formal discussions on definitive agreements with all parties, which is expected to be underway through spring and summer 2023.
Calgary City Council sent a list of funding recommendations to the Government of Alberta in advance of this year's budget. The Event Centre was not listed.
While it is obvious that the timing of this funding offer was announced with political intent on behalf of the current provincial government, I believe that Calgarians value healthcare, education, and affordability in this upcoming election. I urge Calgarians to think carefully and critically about the political vision their provincial candidates have to offer.