Columnist: Markham arena plan ‘somewhere between risky and outright insane’

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If you read just one column bashing the latest plans to build an NHL-ready arena in the Toronto suburb of Markham, make it Bruce Arthur’s in the National Post:

The city has been wrestling for some time with a proposal to build a $325-million arena that would hopefully house an NHL team. Mayor Frank Scarpitti revealed a modified version of the funding structure on Friday with a murky new $70-million extracted from unnamed developers. The plan is still full of holes, with at least $50-million not covered, and council is expected to vote on a previous version of the funding structure Monday or Tuesday. And between now and then, someone should tell them that they are risking an enormous amount of money for a project that is somewhere between risky and outright insane.

Arthur goes on to cite an NHL source that calls the Markham project “delusional,” at least with respect to the league’s plans for the market (translation: there aren’t any, really).

There’s more in the piece, including a quote from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman: “We have never been encouraging of this project. And we have repeatedly said that if this building is built, it should be built with the expectation that they will not get a team.”

After you read Arthur’s column, please do read our piece on Quebec City, and why expansion or relocation to that particular market seems inevitable.

Update (5:24 p.m. ET)

Well then…touch√©.