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Progress being made on new Calgary Event Centre: Coun. Sharp

Progress is being made on a new Calgary Event Centre, but the public won’t be able to see what that progress is just yet.

That’s the word after an Event Centre committee meeting Wednesday, mostly held behind closed doors.

The committee has kept most of the information, aside from the appointment of its third-party group, under wraps. In Wednesday’s meeting administration did provide an update to members in a closed session.

That information will continue to remain confidential.

Coun. Sonya Sharp, who chairs the committee, said that the city is speaking to Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) via the third party. She said Calgarians should remain optimistic that would continue, though there’s no timeline on a potential deal.

Sharp said that it’s important to know the city’s priorities for capital projects before the 2023-2026 budget. Understanding what they might need for this is best, but the conversation will take more time, she said.

“What I can say is administration is working as hard as administration can be working,” she said.

“In city speed, this has been light speed.”

The reason why Calgarians aren’t privy to more information is they’re rebuilding the relationship with CSEC, Sharp said.

“Yes, it looks like we’re having conversations behind the scenes and that’s not good. But what we’ll say is that when the time is right to let Calgarians know what’s going on, we will,” Sharp said.

“We have to look for the benefits and success for everybody – and that’s including Calgarians. So, you need to make sure we have the most optimal information to share at the right time.”

Saddledome repairs

Questions were raised about urgency for a new building given a CBC Calgary report about a deteriorating outer concrete ring around the 40-year-old Saddledome.

Michael Thompson, General Manager of Infrastructure Services with the City of Calgary, said the building is structurally sound and safe for public use.

“The Saddledome’s approaching 40 years in age and concrete weathers as it starts to get old. We see that on many of our buildings, structures like bridges that concrete, it starts the weather as it gets older,” Thompson said.

“So, we’ll undergo the similar types of repairs that we would ask for any other building or structure within the city.”

He said buildings of this age require maintenance and they’ll continue to evaluate if any further repairs are needed.  

There’s a shared agreement with the Saddledome Foundation for repair costs. Thompson they’d review that and depending on the element, that would determine who foots the bill.

He said there are budgets set up to accommodate the regular maintenance of Calgary buildings.

The closed-door administration update at committee on the new Event Centre will be forwarded to a full meeting of council in three weeks. There, it will be delivered confidentially.