Edmonton Journal

No government money for arena: Stelmach
Edmonton Journal

Though millions in government money appears headed to new arena project in Quebec City, hockey fans in Calgary and Edmonton should not expect the same in Alberta, Premier Ed Stelmach said Thursday.

“As I said before, there won’t be any public money going to the arenas. We’re trying to catch up with badly needed infrastructure in health and schools.”

Stelmach made his comments a day after returning from a dinner meeting in Ottawa, where he discussed oilsands development. Also at that meeting was Quebec Premier Jean Charest, whose government has promised to pay $175 million of the construction bill for a $400-million, 18,000-seat arena the city hopes to use to bring back a National Hockey League franchise.

Any government contribution to a Nordiques revival could have Oilers and Flames fans demanding similar treatment, but Stelmach repeated his pledge Thursday that his government won’t be following Quebec’s example.

“Maybe we’re getting close to an election federally, I don’t know,” he said. “Our teams are doing well. I know the pressures in terms of the need for refurbish or get new arenas. We are prepared to provide the infrastructure to the buildings, whether it be LRT or any of the other supporting infrastructure. But the building itself will be private sector.”