Quoted from http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/City+council+approves+arena+deal/5609980/story.html:
EDMONTON - The Oilers could be playing in a fancy new rink by 2015 after city council gave the go-ahead Wednesday to a $450-million arena intended to transform downtown Edmonton.
“I think it’s an incredible opportunity for us to redefine our city,” said Mayor Stephen Mandel, who has spent the last five years promoting the project.
“It’s always easy to say no it’s courageous for council to say yes.”
So, it sounds like I am going to get a new set of neighbors, though I am sure the deal is far from beign truly completed yet. I am somewhat skeptical of projects like these after seeing the boondoggles that have occurred in other public/private joint ventures in other cities. I also have ideological reservations about the the government becoming involved with a piece of infrastructure that would seem better left in the private sphere. Still, maybe they will prove me wrong and this will model for all other cities going forward in design and execution. I am not holding my breath.
I am consistently amazed by the level of construction in this city, though, and this announcement would further exemplify that. Even in the short time that I have lived here, the boundaries of the city have been pushed out by miles. It's encouraging to see the growth, but I think the urban sprawl is becoming a big problem. Driving from one end of the City to the other can take a long time, as I discovered while racing to the airport to catch my flight a couple of weeks ago. Extending the city boundaries out further and further can also cause a disproportionate burden on the tax base, as developing and maintaining that infrastructure can be quite expensive. Hopefully they start to promote more sustainable development soon. And that extends to what is going to be an expensive and massive development downtown.