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  • Pro-Arena posts/essays here.

    This is for members to post their Pro arena thoughts. I will forward an e-
    mail to councillors to let them know this thread exists.

    There will be no debate here. Only your opinion. Posters who violate this rule will be suspended for the duration of this exercise.

    I said this because coming here makes my heart hurt.

  • #2
    I am for the arena. This is an opportunity for the city to do something bold for downtown. No better way, than to bring an entertainment district downtown.

    Not only will existing businesses benefit, but new businesses will move into downtown to take advantage of more people being down there.

    Given where Rexall currently is now, it provides no benefit being in a residential/industrial area of the city. Lets retain some of the patrons of a hockey game/concert/other in the downtown area and start making downtown the place to be.

    Even though I'm a huge Oilers fan, I want to see this get built more for the revitalization part of it, rather than a new place to see the Oilers play. Although, that will be great as well.

    Lets get this done!


    • #3
      Simply put, this is Edmonton's best chance to step up and invest in a once-in-a-generation catalyst for our downtown.


      • #4
        just get it approved, $ 100 mil can wait.
        Edmonton Rocks Rocks Rocks


        • #5
          There is a cost to being successful in this world. If we want to be successful at this goal of becoming a world class city, then have to start putting our money where our mouth is. I support this project and quite frankly, I would be very, very disappointed if it does not become a reality.
          Vision - The art of seeing the invisible


          • #6
            The downtown arena will not be a be-all/end-all magic pill for downtown revitalization, but it would be an important cornerstone for it.

            The other ingredients for a revitalized downtown arena district are already in place. Let's look at the proposed site at the Baccarat Casino, then see what's nearby:
            - adjacent to nLRT line (under construction)
            - proposed wLRT/seLRT and current sLRT/neLRT nearby
            - LRT hub at Churchill Square is nearby
            - major roadways include 101 St and 104 Ave
            - arena traffic less than rush hour volume
            - ten thousands of parking spaces in nearby parkades, meter street parking and parking lots
            - dozens of restaurants, bars, fast food and pubs nearby
            - 2 blocks from large shopping mall plus adjacent office towers with high-end retail
            - short walk from burgeoning 104 St strip
            - adjacent to major employment nodes (downtown core, government centre), many employees go to arena events after work
            - short walking distance to major hotels: Sutton Place, Delta, Chateau Lacombe, Coast Renaissance, Westin, Chateau Lacombe, Hotel Mac...y'know, where the opposing teams, headlining performers and out-of-town fans will be staying
            - nearby residential areas. As a downtown resident, I look forward to walking to a hockey game or rock concert.
            - if its way too cold, partial pedway access to most of the above

            There's other factors that will contribute to downtown revitalization - new RAM, possible high-speed rail station, LRT extension, Walterdale Bridge replacement, more residential infill, new office towers, plans for the Quarters and Lower Rossdale among others.

            But besides being a cornerstone for downtown revitalization, a new downtown arena can transform what's already there:
            - more pedestrians in the evening, which deters seedier elements
            - It could make those existing restaurants and bars even busier at night, and up the demand for more to open
            - Shops and malls could stay open later due to increased evening pedestrians.
            - Empty retail spaces could fill up.
            - Demand for hotel rooms in the downtown could increase as out-of-towners opt to stay at downtown hotels instead of suburban motor lodges, prompting more highrise hotel development.
            - Many office workers would stay downtown beyond 5 PM if they're going to a game or gig after work.

            This has been seen in other cities: Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, LA and Columbus.

            Rexall Place failed at revitalizing its area for the following reasons:
            - is in the middle of an industrial area
            - little or no walkability
            - concrete bunker surrounded by massive parking lots
            - one LRT line
            - one quasi-freeway
            - other major crossroad is grade-separate from arena, and was a high-crime drug/hooker stroll for several decades before its recent transformation into a trendy/artsy strip

            Do it, build it now.
            Last edited by Sonic Death Monkey; 24-10-2011, 10:52 PM.
            “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012


            • #7
              I was at the greyhound station downtown last night, and I took a few minutes to look around. In my head I imagined what that area could look like in a few years and it got me very excited for the city and its future. I think this arena is going to be a catalyst for a brighter and more vibrant downtown.


              • #8
                I don't think any arena deal will ever be perfect, but I think this one will allow the risk to be spread out among all parties.

                I also think that for the $2 million per year that the City is paying to market itself, the city has to come up with a comprehensive marketing strategy. What is Edmonton's brand?
                "Talk minus action equals zero." - Joe Keithley, D. O. A.


                • #9
                  This project, in combination with other downtown initiatives, will help bring thousands of people to the core on a nightly basis. The entertainment district is not for the Oilers or even Mr. Katz. It is for Edmonton and Edmontonians so that downtown can be a more livable and vibrant place to work, shop, and live. Downtown is everyone's neighborhood and it's time we started moving it in the right direction. It is time we brought our downtown back into the 21st century again and suttee acting like a capital city.


                  • #10
                    I am pro arena at any cost.


                    • #11
                      As forwarded to council and others:

                      Most of you know my thoughts on a downtown arena already but I thought I would still share the attached correspondence with Premier Designate Alison Redford.
                      I hope you will take the time to read it as well (it’s not that long) because I think it is important to consider the current discussions about the fate of a downtown arena in Edmonton in the context of city building and not simply in the context of “a deal”.* While “the deal” is important, what is perhaps even more important is what can be illustrated in the following exchange.
                      It started with this letter to the Edmonton Journal:
                      “Re: "Halloween deadline for arena deal will be tricky to meet; City land purchase best option for making sure project moves forward," The Journal, Sept. 28.
                      I have been following the arena saga since the beginning. That was over two-and-a half years ago and still no final decision has yet been made.
                      City council is to have a decision, hopefully final this time around, by Halloween, yet city manager Simon Farbrother believes it will be difficult to meet that deadline.
                      The city can't risk putting off this important final decision any longer.
                      The Oilers' lease with Rexall Place is scheduled to expire in 2014, and by then a new arena must be built or else we will risk losing our beloved franchise to another market.
                      Currently, I am studying urban planning at the University of Waterloo, after leaving my northern Alberta home of 18 years.
                      I have always planned to move to Edmonton after I graduate with my degree, yet I am unsure of where the city will be then in terms of livability.
                      A new arena downtown will only benefit the area, bringing more life and vitality to an area that badly needs it.
                      I am aware of the glaring element stalling this progress: the $100 million currently missing from the equation.
                      I believe that either the provincial or federal government will step up to the plate, or else Daryl Katz will have to increase his current $100 million to cover this.
                      If the decision is made to not approve Katz's arena, I fear that it will be tough for Edmonton to retain the younger generation that I am a part of, unless life is brought to the downtown core through means other than a new hockey arena and adjoining entertainment district.
                      As an urban planner in training, I believe that this is a chance that cannot be passed up.
                      A decision must be made by Halloween to approve this project, or else we risk losing the greatest hope to revitalizing the downtown core this city has seen in years.
                      Harrison Sheremeta,
                      Waterloo, Ont.
                      © Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal”
                      It was picked up “on line” with the following all too typical Edmonton responses:
                      “That man who wrote that is completely off the mark...what grounds does he base his information on??”
                      “He obviously doesn't represent the interests of the city as his current geographical location would identify!”
                      And that’s where and how we too often would have left things so this got added to try and add some perspective:
                      “it's his current geographical location that actually does make his letter so pertinent and so important to the discussion. this is exactly the sort of demographic we need to attract and keep. this isn't about a hockey team or an arena - this is about city building and if we're not successful in building a city that will be attractive this demographic regardless of where they currently reside, we won't be able to attract and keep enough taxpayers to pay the bills that will need paying even without an arena.”
                      And guess what?* That elicited this:
                      “I agree with you 100% Ken. I only said that in jest as my geographical circumstance is similar. To be honest, as much as people like to throw around the threat ... and as someone who is a 'creative-class' member (hate the term, but Richard Florida's concept has merit), and currently weighing career and urban relocation options...these types of things definitely come in to play. They are not the be-all and end-all, but the sum of their collective parts can add serious sway to where 'creative-class' members choose to establish themselves and set up shop.

                      When people here in Ontario ask about Edmonton, I am a bit of a booster at times. I say it's a great place to be in the summer, it has a high standard of living and great economic opportunities, and it isn't nearly as bad as the Ontario-bias portrays it as. (Just as Alberta likes to paint Ontario). I also go on to say it is a city with a lot of potential, but often paired with inaction, pessimism and self-defeatism. Not to say Edmonton hasn't made strides in the past 10 years, as it has. But it always seems on the cusp of so much more, but continually held back. There is a lot more to say here, but I'll leave it at that for now.

                      So do projects like this matter in attracting and retaining demographic-specific 'human capital'? I would say absolutely.”
                      Which segues right back to the attached which includes the following:
                      “Things like arenas and parks and cultural facilities are as important pieces of infrastructure as hospitals, schools, long-term care centres and roads if not more so.* If we can't attract and retain the human capital that wants things like arenas to be part of their lifestyle, how will we ever pay for the other pieces?* How do we put a price on Stantec moving to Boston or CWB moving to Toronto or PCL moving to San Jose because the real resources they need – the human capital - don’t want to move here or stay here?”
                      The real decision that must soon be made isn’t about an arena, it’s about a city.
                      And the real decision shouldn’t be made based solely on how much a downtown arena might cost, it needs to made based on how much it will cost not to have a downtown arena.
                      Dear Premier Redford,
                      Please allow me to start by congratulating you on becoming Alberta’s 14th Premier and our Province’s 5th consecutive Progressive Conservative Premier.
                      There are many challenges facing all of us as we move forward but there is one in particular I would like you to consider in its broader implications for the City of Edmonton and the Province of Alberta before taking a public position that would be easy to take and difficult to reverse once taken.* As you know, a new downtown area for Alberta’s capital city has been under discussion for some time and continues to – hopefully – proceed to fruition.* I would like to take this opportunity to discuss why I feel that way and why I feel it is important for that to take place.
                      Talking about not providing any provincial support for a new downtown arena in Edmonton - regardless of the form that support might take - might make for good sound bites but it would be wrong.* Like the Winspear and the Art Gallery of Alberta and the Citadel and the Jubilee and the new Royal Alberta Museum and the River Valley Alliance and other cultural infrastructure, a successful downtown arena facility should be an important part of the urban fabric that will make Edmonton attractive, not just for its hockey team but for the myriad of other events that are hosted in successful arena developments and for the tens of thousands of people for whom they are important.
                      It's much less about a hockey team than it is about having the infrastructure necessary for Stantec and Worley Parsons and CWB and ATB and Peacehills Insurance and AIMCO and Qualico etc. etc. etc. to be able to attract and retain staff who increasingly make their career decisions and their choice of where to live around the quality of life they will enjoy with their families, not solely on their job options.* Without the ability to attract and retain that human capital as well as financial capital, we might as well pack it up and extract our resources until they are gone and close up shop.* This is not an approach to our ongoing viability that I could support and I don’t believe it is one you are in favour of either.
                      Things like arenas and parks and cultural facilities are as important pieces of infrastructure as hospitals, schools, long-term care centres and roads if not more so.* If we can't attract and retain the human capital that wants things like arenas to be part of their lifestyle, how will we ever pay for the other pieces?* How do we put a price on Stantec moving to Boston or CWB moving to Toronto or PCL moving to San Jose because the real resources they need – the human capital - don’t want to move here or stay here?
                      Not being prepared to support the “hard to support infrastructure” as well as the “easy to support infrastructure” is just the “easy way out”.* That’s the way our federal government chose to take when deciding on the Portrait Gallery of Canada and on EXPO 2017 and, while we may not be able to directly measure it, the loss to our lives and those of our children are always going to be poorer for their choosing to take the easy way out.* The arena shouldn’t get a blank cheque but it shouldn’t get the blanket dismissal some would like to give it either or we will all be the poorer as a result.
                      These kinds of things are important for the province as well as for the city and their benefits go far beyond “supporting a hockey team”.* I would hope that continuing discussions on this matter – regardless of their venue – will continue to provide you and your government with the additional perspective that would see the real implications – and the error - of trying to compare different forms of infrastructure based on one type being more important than the other.
                      We don’t – or shouldn’t - say we won’t build schools because we need hospitals.* We don’t – or shouldn’t - say we won’t build hospitals because we need roads.* We don’t – or shouldn’t – say we won’t build roads because we need long-term care centres.* And we shouldn’t say we won’t support things like museums or arenas because “other types of infrastructure” are more important either.* They’re all important.
                      No one would try and bake a pie without apples “because the crust is more important” and no one would try and bake a pie without a crust “because the apples are more important”.* In some respects it’s a little like discussing potholes and the need to eliminate them before all else but I for one don’t care how smooth the roads are if there is no place worth going to at the end of the day.
                      "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee


                      • #12
                        People know our, DECL's, and my personal opinion.



                        • #13
                          A downtown arena will be a positive development for the entire city. I agree with many of the reasons posted by others and do not want to inundate the forum with more of the same.

                          It feels as if much of the opposition to the arena is concerned with how much it will cost the city. As a consumer, I really don't like to spend money so I think I can understand why some individuals are opposed to any of their tax dollars going to such a project. But I also imagine what things would be like without tax dollars going to public projects. No Art Gallery. No museum. No Citadel theatre, Jubilee auditorium or Winspear. No LRT. No hospitals, schools, roads. Would we even have a city? A province? A country?

                          If we only focus on how much things cost, we'll never want to spend anything. But if we think about what we can achieve together, great things will happen.


                          • #14
                            I endorse a new downtown arena. A lot of naysayers say that it is something that they will never use so it doesn't justify the cost. Well there are a lot of things that were built, are building, or are going to be built that not everyone will use. I'll probably never step foot in the new Terwillegar Rec Center or upcoming Commonwealth Rec Center. I'll probably never use the revamped Queen E Pool. I'm not an art lover so I'll probably never go in the new Art Gallery. When I visit Edmonton I'll never be in Riverbend and drive a newly twinned Rabbit Hill Road. I'll probably never use the LRT either. But these are all things that a city needs to be well rounded and grow. The new downtown arena will be a big leap forward for Edmonton.


                            • #15
                              October 25, 2011
                              Hon. Mayor Mandel and City Councillors,

                              Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today, and for taking the time to gather additional feedback on the arena
                              entertainment district proposal.

                              I am here to speak to you today on behalf of the Downtown Edmonton Community League. As your are all most-
                              likely well aware, DECL has been actively involved in the arena debate since May 2010, from our involvement in the
                              AED rezoning to our on-going participation in discussions relating to the urban design and community integration
                              aspects of the arena project.

                              At this time, DECL would like to reiterate a couple of points as it relates to the potential impacts of this project on our
                              neighbourhood, as follows:

                              Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to remind Council of our support for the proposed CRL funding of
                              downtown catalyst projects, including the downtown arena project (in our letter dated August 29th). The current
                              funding arrangement would be very beneficial to downtown, assuming many Capital City Downtown Plan catalyst
                              projects be funded. Given what our downtown contributes fiscally to the City, we feel this is an appropriate
                              expenditure for the future of our civic, social and cultural heart of Edmonton.

                              Secondly, if funding is approved, the success of this project hinges on good urban design “best practices” and
                              thoughtful architecture. With the amount of money proposed to be spent or financed by Edmontonians, we would
                              expect no less.

                              Lastly, the money to be set aside for the pedway over 104 Avenue should instead be used to improve the street level
                              pedestrian realm.

                              “The publc realm is the lifeblood of the city”
                              - Greg Smallenburg, Reclaiming Lost Spaces Lecture, April 21, 2010, Edmonton

                              "If you plan for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic."
                              - Cynthia Nikitin, Project for Public Spaces Lecture, October 18, 2011

                              In closing, we are very supportive of the City's desire to provide a funding model for the Capital City Downtown Plan
                              catalyst projects, including a portion of funding to the proposed arena entertainment district. The continuing
                              revitalization of our downtown hinges on funding for catalyst projects and careful attention to good urban design and
                              architecture – something all Edmontonians can get behind!


                              Chris Buyze, President
                              Ian O’Donnell, Chair, Development Committee