Kenney calls city move ‘regrettable’ as arena deal officially cancelled

Photo of Jason Kenney screen grab

After the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) announced the Event Centre Project was officially cancelled, Jason Kenney blamed the City of Calgary during a Tuesday press conference.   

When asked about the failed project during the provincial COVID-19 update, Kenney said he was disappointed in the collapsed deal and blamed the City of Calgary for adding “even more costs and more delays.”

“The City of Calgary decided to change the deal at the last minute when construction was ready to proceed,” said Kenney.

“This was something that has been subject to negotiations for years and I understand the owner’s group pointed out that we are facing now some pretty significant construction inflation. The city’s response to that was to add even more costs and more delays.

“I think that’s really regrettable.”

Kenney said he spent four days on Zoom calls before Christmas with CEOs of major Canadian companies promoting investment in Alberta, adding part of his pitch included “all of the great new amenities being built here (in Alberta).

“So, I do think that’s part of the broader package of an effort to get Calgary’s mojo back, to get people moving here and to bring investment here is to have world-class facilities,” said Kenney.

Kenney said he was encouraged when the city and the CSEC had come to an agreement but found it, “regrettable that the city decided at the last minute to change the parameters,” and encouraged the city to “reconsider and get shovels in the ground as soon as possible.”

The CSEC confirmed Tuesday in a press release they were unable to “create a viable partnership with the city,” on the Event Centre Project.  

Both CSEC and the City of Calgary were required to waive construction conditions on or before December 31, but neither did, which “resulted in the termination of the Projection Framework Agreement and all associated agreements,” said the CSEC in a statement.

“We have always believed that Calgary needs a new Event Centre,” stated John Bean, President and CEO of Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation.

“However, under the current circumstances, we do not see a path forward that would create a viable partnership with the city, which is essential for a new Event Centre to become a reality.”

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard

Reporter (Alberta)

Melanie Risdon is an Alberta Reporter for the Western Standard and Alberta Report based in the Calgary Headquarters. She has over 20 years’ experience in media at Global News, Rogers and Corus.

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