Redford adamant no provincial money for new Edmonton arena

EDMONTON – Alberta Premier Alison Redford has once again said there will be no direct provincial funding of a new NHL arena in downtown Edmonton.

Redford told a meeting in the Alberta capital that her government restricts itself to creating level playing fields for business.

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She made the comments following news reports that the province might come through with $107 million still needed to pay for the $480-million rink. She emphasized that provincial support – even in the form of using gaming dollars to establish a fund that all municipalities could access – was not on the horizon.

“No, it’s not,” she stressed.

Redford says the idea shouldn’t even be discussed given that the province is rolling back or holding the line on spending and on salaries for doctors, teachers and nurses.

She says the city – and all municipalities – has the option to use its infrastructure grant money from the province. Edmonton is receiving $170 million in such funding this year.

Finance Minister Doug Horner, however, didn’t dismiss the possibility so quickly.

Wednesday, Global News asked if the government was still looking at using a lottery or gaming option for arena funding.

“I’m always looking for ideas,” Horner replied.

“We’re still working on a number of different options where we can try to help municipalities throughout the province and we’re going to continue to do that,” he explained. “Obviously, we are going to live within our means – we’ve made that commitment – so anything that happens would be in the future.”

The Opposition says the PCs need to get on the same page.

“It’s been bizarre,” said Wildrose leader Danielle Smith. “It’s almost like there are two conversations going on, and I wish the government would clarify it because it seems quite clear that the Mayor thinks something is coming, and it seems quite clear from the premier that nothing is coming. I think that people need to understand what exactly is the plan,” she added.

“Everyone has reason to be quite confused about where the government is going with this one.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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