Downtown Arena Debate


This whole Downtown Arena issue is going to come to a head tomorrow night at City Council (April 9 2013). Some things to consider before cementing your thoughts on the issue:


YMM DT Arena


-our city is growing and the ENTIRE DOWNTOWN is getting redeveloped, not just the one section you see with an arena. By the time this Arena is slated to open, the downtown core as you see it now will be completely changed to reflect a higher traffic pattern and more business.

– the city has brought in WORLD RENOWN planners to design our new downtown redevelopments. These people are formally educated space allocation, parking and traffic patterns…you most likely are not formally educated in that type of process. Just remember that when you say to yourself “this won’t work”. Saying Urban Planners don’t know what their doing is like saying a Process Operator doesn’t know how to run a Coker or a FireFighter doesn’t know how to rescue someone in danger. I’m not saying trust in our Government completely, in fact I encourage people to question decisions…but don’t try to act like your an expert on an issue you when a person that works in that field is telling you differently. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Common Sense rules over all and from my perspective, Common Sense dictates that the city wouldn’t just throw this plan together without have experts look at the issue first.

– new highway access points are being put in so it won’t be the same traffic patterns to you see now. Remember, THE WHOLE DOWNTOWN AREA WILL BE CHANGING and NOT structured like it is today. The new Bridge Access direct to Franklin Ave as well as the Prairie Creek Blvd expansion with make driving around downtown easier.

– lots of people are upset over parking. I’ll say it one more time, THE WHOLE DOWNTOWN AREA WILL BE CHANGING with underground parking being built in the new Civic Center amongst parking in other places. Regardless of whether this is enough or not, think of what you do when you go see an event in Edmonton or Calgary? Do you scream for parking in this types of places? Or do you do what the majority of everyone else does and that’s take Public Transportation or Park and Ride/Park and Walk. I don’t understand why people are making a large issue of this; do they expect everyone that is going to the arena to be able just to park right next to it and be able to be inside in 2mins or less? This is where rationale thinking comes into play…

– Arena’s can be used for more then just hockey…LOTS MORE (think trade shows, car shows, monster truck rallys, touring theatre performances, concerts bigger then just a field house with a black curtain around it, etc etc). The debate regarding if this community can retain a higher form of hockey rages on, but that should not stop us from designing a state-of-the-art entertainment area for things other then hockey.

– every person thinks they can allocate the money better, be it towards a homeless shelter, some other charity or other “pressing” issue. Keep in mind that every resident has a wish-list, but what is actually good for the entire community as a whole? Our Senior Center is already being built (on two fronts I believe, both the city and the province), we are getting major road upgrades (again with both the city and province), as well as additional homes and neighborhoods. Nothing is being put on the back-burner for this Arena complex.

– for the people saying “build the arena in Timberlea”. Do you really want to have a 8,000-person or so entertainment complex in the middle of a residential area? The purpose of our downtown redevelopment is to revitalize the downtown core. You know, instead of people complaining about the hookers and drugs at 7-11 we actually have some proper facilities in what’s known as the heart of the city. Also, look at where the new neighborhoods are going…Abasand and Prairie Creek. There may be a large population north of the river now, but in the future it we will be expanded south. Remember, the FUTURE of the city…not how it is currently.

– people need of think of what this community will become…not how it is now. Think of how many people will be living in this city in 2020 (which is not that far away). Some are saying that the Suncor Fort Hills and Voyageur Projects are now cancelled maybe we won’t have that big of a population in the coming years. To them I say remember the Nexen Expansion, Syncrude Aurora South, CNRL Expansion, the Total Joclyn Creek Project…there are many MANY work projects still on the go that no one should be concerned about our population not growing. And if you think Suncor is just going to leave a half built upgrader on the side of the road undeveloped, you are sadly mistaken. Who knows? We make improvements to our downtown core and maybe companies will stop relying on Fly In/Fly Out and actually have families move up here to make this community their home.

Most importantly, read the plans for yourself and try to comprehend them; don’t read someone’s blog post or twitter feed and think you understand the issue (mine included).


Follow the City Center Redevelopment and read the plans HERE!



It’s no secret that I support the plans to redevelop our downtown (both the Arena and the Waterfront). Many times in my life I have heard that Fort McMurray needs to change it’s image, that Fort McMurray needs to enhance it’s infrastructure, that Fort McMurray needs to get “caught up with the world”. What I don’t understand is when we FINALLY start doing it, some people begin to complain. This city is not what it was 10 years ago nor will it be ever again. We need to become just that…an actual city. We’re not a small town in the north that just produces oil anymore…we’re a lively, vibrant, hometown community and our downtown needs to start reflecting that with proper facilities that a city of 100,000 people is suppose to have.

I urge City Council to start making this plan a reality. Don’t listen to the cries of the few as they do not speak for the excitement of the many. Don’t let the issues of 100s effect the happiness and increased quality of life for the 1000s.

I can’t wait to walk across the Snye on the footbridge past our new Civic Center, along the boardwalks following our waterfront parks to an event at our beautiful arena. It’s a future I hope to see and a future I can’t wait for my son and his generation to enjoy.

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2 Responses to Downtown Arena Debate

  1. Mike says:

    Todd, I am for the development of our downtown and the waterfront. I just want my downtown to be a downtown. The arena just doesn’t fit that model. If you’ve read the court case Mr. Taylor talks about parking and also the need from time to time to shut down Franklin ave for staging for 2 to 3 hours at a time.

    Parking structures are needed and Mr. Taylor also states that under or above ground parking is going to be required. The RMWB may or may not have this planned. They are not saying and so as far as the public know there is none. They are trying to force the public into transportation by not providing parking options.

    You mentioned Edmonton and Calgary and their arenas, so let’s take a look at parking options. While they have great transportation options they also have large parking options as well. When the arena isn’t being used look at how those areas look. is this what you want in your downtown?

    40,000 people are expected to move downtown. They will need residences, businesses that cater to their needs and places to spend their time. A wide variety of businesses, resturants and boutiques makes alot more sense of the space than a downtown that already has limited space to be crowded by an arena.

    BTW, arenas for the most part are not things of beauty. they are large shells with some facia that trys to be pleasant.

    The Syne, the bridge, MacDonald Island and the new civic centre and city hall will add a huge presence to the downtown core. With all of that…. do we need the arena there as well? I don’t think so and the so called 100’s you mention don’t think so. BTW, by my recolection of people for and against I believe you have your facts backwards.


  2. Kevin says:

    Well said Toddske.

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