With all the talk lately about a potential new arena in Edmonton and the talk about the team potentially looking towards Quebec City as a future destination should things not work out, there’s some new news today about how things will (or won’t) work out in the project.
Oilers billionaire owner Daryl Katz has been trying to broker a deal with the City of Edmonton to help subsidize a new arena for the Oilers in Edmonton courtesy of taxpayer money. His target date to have it done was 2014 and according to a report, if they want it done by then it’s not likely going to happen.
City officials confirmed Friday that construction timelines and surrounding shops and offices that would go with the rink would make such a deadline “challenging.”
“I think it’s everybody’s target to get something built by 2014,” Simon Farbrother told reporters at City Hall after releasing documents detailing answers sought by councillors deciding whether to help fund the $450-million rink.
“(But) I think probably all parties assume if we’re able to pull a deal together that works for everybody, an extension of that lease (at Rexall Place) for a year or six months or whatever — we’d be able to do that.”
Whenever it comes to stories like these were a team is doing their damnedest to tweak the locals into getting something they want done, you have to wonder if there’s an ulterior motive at work here from the Oilers. After all, they’re trying to get taxpayers to help pay for the arena and the story this week about talk going on with Quebec City sure makes for excellent scare fodder.
With talk of the possibility of an end date for finished construction not being able to be achieved it’s another thing for Katz and his group to dangle in front of the fans and politicians alike to help get Rexall Place replaced. Rexall Place has been around since 1974 making it the second oldest arena in the league behind Nassau Coliseum in Long Island. The Oilers could definitely use a new place to play, but strong-arming the taxpayers to pony up for it when Katz is a multi-billionaire would be a disgusting abuse of the locals and their love of the team. Let’s just hope all this grandstanding doesn’t result in either the taxpayers getting screwed or a team being relocated.