CityNews: Calgary arena concerns amid housing crisis
Posted May 1, 2023
With Calgary now getting a new event centre and entertainment district, the local and provincial governments will pay hundreds of millions of dollars towards the project, and not everyone is happy.
Around $1.2 billion will be funded towards the project, with the city forking over $537 million, making 44 per cent of the total cost.
Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation is going to contribute $40 million upfront and $356 million in “present value.”
The Event Centre itself will cost around $800 million.
“I feel like the government is out of touch with the regular lives of people and how the majority of people in this city live,” said Maggy Wlodarczyk, a board member with Central Calgary Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
“Their lives day-to-day are not based around going to high-priced events on a regular basis. That’s something that is a rare treat.”
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation director Kris Sims says they love hockey too, but this project isn’t good use of taxpayers’ money.
“NHL players make millions of dollars per year. The Calgary Flames, god love them, are worth hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said.
“Taxpayers shouldn’t be the ones footing the bills to build these new arenas for the players to play in and for the owners to kick back in their corporate boxes.”
Sims says the city needs to give details to Calgary taxpayers about how taxes will not go up since municipal money will go towards funding the project.
Wlodarczyk also says she appreciates the idea of an events centre but feels it’s at a time when the majority of people cannot afford it.
“An extraordinary amount of money to be spending on an event centre when we have people who can barely afford their rent,” Wlodarczyk said.
“We have an increasing issue with homelessness in the city and with rental increases going up. And I don’t want to live in a city that has all sorts of fun events and people living on the street because they can’t afford to pay rent.”
Article by Danina Falkenberg for CityNews