‘Really regrettable’: Kenney disappointed with City of Calgary over death of Flames arena deal

Alberta’s premier says he is “very disappointed” that Calgary’s new arena deal is officially dead.

Jason Kenney made the comments while speaking during a provincial news conference on Tuesday.

“I’m very disappointed that the City of Calgary decided to change the deal at the last minute, when construction was ready to proceed,” Kenney said.

“This is something (that) had been subject to negotiations for years, and I understand the owner’s group pointed out that we’re facing pretty significant construction inflation. The city’s response to that (was) to add even more costs and more delays. So I think that’s really regrettable.”

Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, the company that owns the Calgary Flames, said in a release Tuesday that the agreement was ended when neither the city nor CSEC waived “construction conditions” by Friday.

The termination of the agreement was expected after CSEC notified the city on Dec. 21 of its intent to pull out of the deal.

Illustrated renderings show Calgary’s new events centre in Victoria’s Park. (City of Calgary)On Tuesday, Kenney said that he spent about four days before Christmas in back-to-back Zoom meetings with CEOs from major Canadian companies in an effort to promote investment in Alberta.

He said some of the big selling points he was pushing was Alberta’s high quality of life and the relatively low cost of living.

“One of the aspects that I featured in that selling pitch was all of the great new amenities being built here, the modernization of the Glenbow museum in which we are investing, the upgrades to Arts Commons as well as, of course, the events centre.”

“I do think that’s part of the broader package to help get Calgary’s mojo back,” Kenney said.

He said he was encouraged that the City of Calgary and CSEC had come to an agreement and said it’s “very regrettable” that the “city decided at the last minute to change the parameters.”

“I just hope that they can reconsider and get shovels in the ground as soon as possible.”

Kenney added that the project itself would help to create jobs which are “much needed in the city.”

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