Calgarians have a lot to say about the new downtown arena

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Like or hate the idea of ​​a new downtown arena, Calgarians are very interested in the subject.More than 14,000 people participated in the public engagement process led earlier this year by the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation.

The city agency will be responsible for the development of the new event center.

He wanted public feedback on what the new arena should include and what people appreciate in terms of integration into the surrounding entertainment district.

Feedback will be incorporated into the design of the new building, which is now underway.

The city and owners of the Calgary Flames are also sharing the cost of the new $ 550 million building.

More than sports, concerts

Many engagement sessions took place online and also in each district of the city before the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the arena is at the center of sporting events and concerts, people told CMLC that they also wanted it to be the centerpiece of events and retail opportunities that would attract people to the area. the year.

The CMLC reports that almost 27% of respondents said that a new arena will attract better concerts and events.

But they also consider it important to civic pride that it revitalize the Victoria Park area and be close to new community gathering space and retail opportunities.

When asked what they wanted to include the new event center, about 70% of those surveyed said close to the action seats, good social gathering spaces and sit-down restaurants were important.

Outdoor space is also important

As for a new community space outside the event center, people want to see it host festivals, outdoor concerts, free performances and provide outdoor screens for people to come together to watch events – inside the arena or elsewhere.

More than half of the respondents said they wanted to see that the community space includes facilities such as public toilets, green spaces and be close to nearby retail offers that would include local products, craft beer and seated restaurants.

CMLC President and CEO Kate Thompson said that what people want will be incorporated into the design of the new building.

She said the new arena will not look like the Saddledome, which sees most customers going up the stairs to enter and the building surrounded by parking lots.

“What we are looking for in this building is really the one that connects,” said Thompson.

“There has to be an activation at ground level, which allows people to activate it not only in a jersey on match day but throughout the year and to be able to feel that it is theirs and that it is a place where they can get in and out of any day of the year. ”

High interest

The Chair of the Board’s Event Center Evaluation Committee, Coun. Jeff Davison said he was satisfied with the comments the CMLC had received from the community.

“With nearly 15,000 people hired through the CMLC, you add to the more than 6,000 pledges received by the council when we were talking about the origin of the project, I think the commitment on this subject was meaningful, “said Davison.

“I have probably one of the most important engagement jobs the city has ever undertaken. “

The new event center will replace the aging Calgary Saddledome. (Robson Fletcher)

All the results of the engagement point do not concern people wishing to have an event center.

When asked what the building would mean, 7.4% of respondents said “financial burden”.

In an open comments section, 8.3% of those surveyed said they did not support the new event center.

When asked about the barriers preventing people from visiting the Saddledome, 75% were concerned about the price of tickets.

Friday was also the last meeting of the board’s event center evaluation committee.

He approved a motion calling on city council to vote to dissolve the committee.

The design of the new arena is expected to be unveiled by the end of 2020.

Construction of the new building will begin in August 2021 with the opening of the new arena in May 2024.

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