Seeking Oilers arena plan answers

CLARA HO, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:55 AM ET

EDMONTON --

City council submitted nearly 200 written questions to the Katz Group, Northlands and city administration about the downtown arena before Monday's noon deadline.

The mayor and all city councillors, except for Coun. Ron Hayter, submitted 18 pages of questions, which were made public as an attachment to the July 21 city council meeting.

The questions were related to issues such as the surrounding developments that would generate tax revenues through a community revitalization levy, whether a new arena was necessary, ownership, timelines and finances, among other things.

"There are a lot of great questions and we're looking forward to answering them in a timely fashion in order to help move the process forward," said Katz Group spokesman Steve Hogle in an e-mail.

The mayor and councillors had a chance to send additional questions following the Katz Group's presentation to council last Wednesday about a new downtown arena and entertainment district.

In the meeting, Daryl Katz pledged an additional $100 million towards the surrounding development on top of the $100 million he had already committed towards the arena.

He also agreed to sign a location agreement for the downtown arena to keep the Edmonton Oilers in the city.

However, the group told council the Oilers would not play in a renovated Rexall Place because an overhaul of the arena would mean a reduction in seats and a loss in revenue, and that the Oilers likely wouldn't play at Rexall past 2014 when their 10-year lease expires.

A downtown arena is necessary to ensure the Oilers are sustainable in the city, the group also argued, and that the Oilers have been "in the red" throughout most of the last decade with Katz having to spend millions of his own dollars per year for the team to break even.

City administration has been directed to work with the Katz Group and Northlands to come up with a finance and operations framework, and to report on the impacts a new arena would have on Northlands.


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