Let me start off by saying that I believe having an arena is a tremendous benefit to Calgary, and having the Flames around is important too. The question of course is just how much benefit that is, and how much (if any) the City of Calgary--or rather the citizens of Calgary--should pay for that benefit.
I continue to maintain that whatever financial assistance the City does of to build a new arena should be paid back in one form, or another. This, or course, is one of the difficult negotiating points that has arisen. Is it a matter of charging the owner of the arena a property tax to recoup the cost? Is it a matter of simply requiring the amount be payed back in full, with or without interest? How will tax revenue from new development that a new arena might spur fit into this equation, or is there some combination of all of these things that we can come to terms on?
I remain confident we can find an arrangement that benefits all parties, especially the citizens/taxpayers of Calgary.
- Peter Demong