Markham mayor promises to keep residents in the loop on arena plans

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The mayor of Markham is pledging transparency when it comes to the proposed construction of an NHL-caliber arena.

In a statement released on the city’s website, mayor Frank Scarpitti promises to keep residents of the Toronto suburb fully informed on any and all developments.

Concerns have been raised over the use of public funds to build the rink that could potentially house a second NHL team in the Greater Toronto Area.

“First, the City of Markham has NOT entered into any binding contracts committing to the proposed arena,” Scarpitti said in the statement.

“Second, a draft Financial Framework was released in April of this year. This was the first of many steps necessary for the City and the private parties involved to work out further details that would become part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which will be part of a transparent process. The MOU will be shared publicly for residents’ feedback.”

Scarpitti expects the MOU to be released in the “coming months” and that it “will be subject to independent third party review.”

Currently the plan calls for the city to take on $325 million in debt to construct the arena. Businessmen Graeme Roustan and Rudy Bratty would then pay back half the $325 million, plus interest. The other half would come from residential developers via a levy on new homes.

Related: No NHL tenant required for Markham arena, insists developer (again)