Calgary should focus on Victoria Park redevelopment — not Olympics: councillor

A Calgary city councillor says he’s much more interested in efforts to develop a new entertainment district in Victoria Park — with a new arena at its heart — rather than bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics.

A city committee voted this week to have council vote on resuming talks with the Calgary Flames on developing a new arena.

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation — the city agency overseeing drawing up a master plan for the inner-city area — has released renderings of a new arena, which came from the Flames.

Coun. Peter Demong said the Olympics could bring value to Calgary, but not leave the same legacy as developing a new entertainment district in Victoria Park would.

“The Olympics would be fantastic but what we’re talking about spending at the Olympics isn’t going to do much of anything for this area, which is what we’re trying to focus on,” he said.

The legacy of an entertainment district would be more valuable than the Olympics, argued Demong.

This conceptual drawing of a new hockey arena in Victoria Park is from the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, which owns the Calgary Flames. It shows what a proposed arena would look like at 12th Avenue and 4th Street S.E. (Rossetti/Calgary Flames)

“This is a culmination of what 20 to 25 years of envisioning and desires for this from the City of Calgary, from Calgarians to say, ‘we want something to liven the downtown, to bring people back downtown,'” he said.

“This is city-building in its essence. This is how you build a good city and if it comes down to a cost basis between this project and the Olympics, I’m going to go with this one every single time.”

City council will discuss on Tuesday whether to resume arena talks with the owners of the NHL team.

Negotiations between the two sides on a cost-share arrangement for an arena broke off last year.

The Flames said the city’s offer was far short of what the team needs to see a new arena to go ahead.

Council then voted earlier this year to create what it calls an “events centre assessment committee,” with the goal of re-igniting negotiations between the two parties.



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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.

History

Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
Geography

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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