Calgary Council forms new committee to restart arena plans

Calgary Council has appointed a committee to explore plans for a new arena in the Canadian city.

The move comes after the NHL’s Calgary Flames confirmed in January that a deal for a new arena (pictured) had been officially terminated. The team’s parent company, Calgary Sports and Entertainment (CSEC), had previously exited the C$634m (£378m/€450m/$496m) project, citing growing concern over the rising costs of its side of the venture.

The arena project was first unveiled in 2019 but faced a number of hurdles, primarily relating to costs. When the agreements were first executed back in December 2019 the parties agreed to a 50/50 cost sharing arrangement but in July 2021, when the costs increased to C$608.5m, the City of Calgary informed CSEC that it was not able to fund its share.

The cost of the arena then rose to C$634m, leading to the plans being terminated. The Flames have played at the Scotiabank Saddledome since it opened in 1983 and CSEC said in December that its intention was for the team to remain at the venue.

Plans for a new arena are back on the table, with the council having unanimously approved a new Event Centre Committee on Tuesday. Councillor Sonya Sharp has said that it will be a case of when, and not if, the event centre is built.

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said, according to the Calgary Herald newspaper: “I think we’re in really good shape. I think what you see is a council that’s very interested in making sure we’re making strong economic decisions for our city … We’re ready to do the work and we continue to move forward because this is something that will benefit the City of Calgary and its citizens.”

It is unclear who is involved in the revamped plans, with Gondek refusing to confirm whether talks had resumed with CSEC. The committee is set to meet for the first time in the coming weeks.

Image: Jeff Davison