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Failed Event Centre deal costs Calgary $16.8 million

Details are being held tight on potential progress on a new Calgary Flames arena project.

Costs for the failed Event Centre deal have been tallied, and the City of Calgary was on the hook for $16.8 million, according to a city briefing.

The final closing costs for the previous Event Centre agreement were put into a mid-year-capital and operating revision report coming to this Thursday’s Executive Committee meeting.

After a May Event Centre committee meeting, City of Calgary’s Planning and Development GM Stuart Dalgleish was asked if the city costs would come in at around $12 million – a number previously told to council.  He said at that time that it was likely to come in higher than that figure.

“We are still finalizing the costs and expenditures associated with the former Events Center project,” Dalgleish said at that time.

“Once we’re ready, we will ensure that there is full transparency and accountability to report on those figures.”

The briefing states that the “near final contribution” of $16.8 million covers the cost of design development and enabling works.  Roughly $14.2 million of that represents the City’s 50 per cent portion of costs.

Closeout costs a normal practice: Coun. Sharp

According to Event Centre committee chair, Coun. Sonya Sharp, the remaining $2.6 million were costs taken on by the city for its own consultant, plus transaction costs.

“This is actually normal practice,” Sharp said of the close out costs.

“It’s just that this is more of a high-profile project.”

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Whether citizens will be on the hook for similar costs in a potential new agreement remain to be seen. When the Event Centre committee was struck, they said they would look to use what they could from the prior work that was done.

Sharp said it’s too premature to consider future costs.

“To say that this would be something we would be on the hook for next time, I think that’s super premature,” she said.

Currently, the City and Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) are working through a third-party intermediary. At a committee meeting on Sept. 14, there was little more to share.

Sharp said at the time that Calgarians should remain optimistic a deal would get done.

The City is currently putting together its 2023-2026 budget. We asked Coun. Sharp again if the picture would need to be clearer on a new Event Centre prior to budget.

“We still need some conversations with CSEC and the city to understand where we’re going to go,” she said.

“I think what’s important is that council, in January, all agreed that the city of Calgary needs an Event Centre.”