WebStamp February 15, 2023
Event Centre Complimenting The Saddledome
Negotiations for a new Calgary Event Centre began in 2015 when the Flames were looking for a new home and proposed CalgaryNEXT, a new hockey arena, covered football stadium and multi-sport field house to be built in the West Village. Back in 1983, the Coral was complimented with the Saddledome when the Flames needed a new stadium after moving from Atlanta to Calgary in the ‘80s. Calgary should repeat that with the new Event Centre complimenting the Saddledome instead of tearing down the iconic and historic landmark.
There was a study completed in June of 2017 for potential future uses for the Saddledome without a major tenant. In the study, they proposed several repurposing scenarios with several showing a sustainable profit. Aside from using it as a convention centre, for another Olympics, or decommissioning there were two other scenarios that were sustainable. Repurposing as a multisport centre with 3 rinks replacing the current one and adding an additional floor with 3 soccer fields was one idea that was projected to provide a $1.24 million yearly profit.
The other redesign is to reduce it to a 6 thousand-capacity venue by removing the upper seats and keeping the bottom seats with the arena for smaller events and some facilities to support them. Unfortunately, according to the study, this would cost citizens $850,000 a year to support, the same cost as mothballing the Saddledome. With some innovative redesign by keeping the arena and bottom seating and creating a meeting/coffee shop + mall around the perimeter, it could become a self-sustainable gathering area.
In April 2017, city council voted unanimously to instead support a "plan B" near the Saddledome with an Event Centre. Negotiations hemmed and hawed for the new Event Centre with a deal struck to begin construction in 2021. After a hold and a modified plan, the Calgary Sports and Entertainment pulled out of the deal in December 2021. The Saddledome still stands and can be saved.
With the citizens enthused over a new Event Centre, the city has been exploring a path that would allow a way to build this important public infrastructure by establishing an Event Centre Committee (ECC) and engaging with a third party. This fresh start for negotiations means a review of all things, including the arena location. The Saddledome could remain as an entertainment centre for the East Village and the new Event Centre can help develop the west end of downtown.
Premier Danielle Smith suggested using new technologies to remediate the contaminated downtown Calgary area that has been linked to recent arena talks. The problem is the cost of remediating the soil. Even though she says there will be no provincial support, the cleanup of contaminated environments should be supported by the province and covered by the companies responsible that contaminated it.
This time let’s hope city council decides to make the proper decisions towards building the proper infrastructure for the well-being of its citizens instead of monetary choices. Expand the entertainment facilities instead of replacing them. Inform your city officials that the new Event Centre could complement the Saddledome for the benefit of a growing city.
Articles in this Issue
WebStamp February 15, 2023
Calgary Event Centre -Wikipedia
Flames reveal details of $890M downtown arena-stadium plan -Annalise Klingbeil, Calgary Herald
Event Centre -City of Calgary
Locations other than Victoria Park on table for new Calgary arena
New tech might open up West Village remediation -Darren Krause, Livewire Calgary
Premier Danielle Smith supports new arena for Flames in Calgary -Sportsnet
New tech might open up West Village remediation - Darren Krause, Livewire
Foothills Multisport Fieldhouse -City of Calgary
CalgaryNEXT Multisport Fieldhouse Stadium -Government of Alberta sed in