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Calgary arena deal consultation ‘in the dog days of summer’

It’s time to pour yourself a cup of coffee and charge up that laptop.

Calgarians have less than one week to read and analyze a 14-page proposal (plus its attachments) between the city, the Calgary Flames and the Calgary Stampede on a potential new “event centre.” City council is expected to vote on the proposal July 29.

According to the City’s website, people can share their thoughts for the next seven days by contacting their councillor directly or providing a written submission through the City Clerk’s Office. Comments received by the Clerk’s Office by 12 p.m. July 26 will be included in the corporate records and distributed at Monday’s council meeting. Feedback gathered by Councillors is for their own review.

The short timeline has ruffled the feathers of Ward 8 Coun. Evan Woolley.

On Monday night, Woolley asked city administration to develop an engagement plan. Councillors defeated that motion.

“There has been no good reason today about why we’re only being given one week to do this. And we’re not only doing this, we are, in my mind, actively discluding [sic] Calgarians from this decision,” Woolley said during Monday night’s debate.

“We’re being given one week at the end of July, in the dog days of summer, when most Calgarians are thinking about vacation and their families.”

Budget cuts amid Calgary arena approval

The proposal comes at a time when city council is looking at ways to cut costs. While the raw dollar value of upcoming Calgary budget cuts is $60 million, the impact will feel like nearly double that, say some city councillors.

Coun. Jeff Davison, chair of the events centre assessment committee said the proposal is a fair deal.

“I understand this deal comes at a precarious time for our city,” Coun. Davison said.

“However, this week we will work to reduce the cost of government while we invest in a vision that moves our city forward.”

There’s a council hiatus in August.

Twitter had mixed reactions to the level of public consultation on the new Calgary arena: