Re: ‘The arena cannot be built for $450 million’; Katz Group letter asks for more public dollars for ‘iconic’ structure; city council says no, the Journal, Sept. 13.
The Katz Group’s demand for a $6-million operating subsidy for the proposed arena is a blessing in disguise. It gives city council a face-saving way to scuttle the whole deal.
The deal has been a debacle from the start. It has never been clearly supported by Edmontonians. It remains $100 million short. It was hurried and city council appeared desperate. The Katz Group was made out to be the only option.
Council can now back out of this terrible mistake, accept that Daryl Katz might move the Oilers, and put the whole project up for tender.
In time, other business conglomerates will recognize the city’s potential and offer to move a new hockey team here and build a downtown arena as a business venture, bearing all the cost and reaping all the revenue minus taxes the city would collect.
We actually have a paid-for arena: Rexall Place.
Sam ElBadrawy, Edmonton
Vibrant city needs project
The downtown arena project excites me so much about coming back to live in my hometown once I finish university in Vancouver.
On the West Coast, most people know Edmonton for cold winters and a giant mall and that’s about it. I tell them that thanks to projects like the arena, Edmonton is going to be a vibrant, dynamic city.
That raises a lot of eyebrows here. Whether they believe me or not, that’s the kind of Edmonton I want to be part of. So to city council and the Katz Group: get together, get on the same page and get it done.
Russell Hirsch, Vancouver
Capital region could run arena
An arena deal as it now stands seems unlikely, given escalating costs and the provincial government’s unwillingness to fill a $100-million gap in funding.
I suggest the City of Edmonton form a corporation with surrounding municipalities (Leduc, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Sturgeon County, etc.) to own and manage the new arena.
Funding would come from the member municipalities, which would be able to use debenture financing. A long-term lease with the Edmonton Oilers and other regular users would be required. Those users would sell their own tickets and have concession areas to sell related merchandise. The corporation could book concert tours and other events.
Many people outside of Edmonton attend arena events, and sharing the cost with more contributors could make the project viable.
Frank Stockall, Gibbons
Veiled threats in school strike
Re: “Catholic school strikers reject pact,” the Journal, Sept. 13.
An email Tuesday from Edmonton Catholic Schools superintendent Joan Carr aimed at support staff was sent to teachers as well.
When I saw the letter, I was dismayed but not surprised, as I have represented the district’s teachers several times.
The thinly veiled threats and demonization of unions implied in the email illustrate the superintendent has little respect for the support staff’s representatives or collective bargaining. Similar communications confronted my teachers’ negotiating committee as we neared a strike, and the school board used Alberta’s laughable Labour Act to force a “do-over” ballot despite the clear majority vote of a large quorum initially favouring a strike.
We protested the board’s communication with our members to the Labour Relations Board, but had to withdraw our complaint as a condition of signing an agreement.
Unlike the teachers of that time, the current strikers met the challenge of employer interference with an even stronger vote, only to be cajoled into crossing their picket lines by the same person who is charged with the harmonious, Christian administration of the system.
Rather than seeing this as a tug of war between the board and the support workers’ union, the superintendent might give some weight to the grievance this strike represents: expecting support staff to do more for less pay by cutting their hours year after year while demanding the same workload.
These important school staff members need to be seen as people to be cared for, not exploited.
Fritz Kropfreiter, Edmonton
Relax the rules by the river
Re: “Beach umbrellas in the valley,” Editorial, Sept. 19.
After work today I thought I’d go down to Hawrelak Park to sit on the dock and have dinner. Or perhaps sip a pint at a patio pub or restaurant along the valley’s edge and watch the sunset.
Sadly, we have very few if any restaurants in or along the river valley. Perhaps Edmonton should liberalize the planning regulations and allow innovative entrepreneurs to improve the livability of our great region.
Or we can make the same mistake we have made with previous grand megaprojects and put all of our tax funds into one building.
Peter Duncan, Edmonton
Leave our valley alone
What, no beaches, waterfront promenades, funky cafes, art studios, etc.? Why go to the river valley at all? A trip to West Edmonton Mall or Whyte Avenue should happily fulfil the editorial writer’s requirements.
Please tell me the editorial is meant as satire. Many of us think the river valley is wonderful just the way it is.
D.G. Beirnes, Edmonton
Maple Leaf outrage
Re: “Maple Leaf absent as PQ takes charge,” the Journal, Sept. 18.
I have served in the 12th Armoured Regiment of Canada at Valcartier, Que., and alongside the Royal 22e Regiment in many places and with the French military in France.
My ancestors cleared the streets of Toronto with a broadaxe. There has been a Downey in every war for Canadian freedom.
All gravestones for our dead comrades since the First World War have a Canadian Maple Leaf engraved on them.
Removing the Canadian flag from Red Room of the Quebec legislature on Monday when Parti Québécois members took the oath of office, shames all Canadians. We fought and died together. Can’t we live together in peace and harmony?
We share our funds with Quebec. My stand is: no federal flag, no federal money.
Jack C. Downey, Calgary
Minister should back Dorval
Re: “Board axes ‘zero’ mark teacher; Lynden Dorval receives notice following grading controversy,” the Journal, Sept. 15.
I graduated from high school in Edmonton in 1999 and earned a technical diploma at NAIT and degree from the University of Alberta. I am glad I was brought up in an education system that graded me fairly and gave me constructive, honest feedback.
I expected to get a zero or failing grade in school for poor work or incomplete assignments. Without open feedback from my teachers and principals, I would not be the person I am today.
The current system promotes lazy students and failure once the student enters the workforce. I am discouraged the province has allowed this to happen.
It is tragic that teacher Lynden Dorval has been fired from Edmonton Public Schools for giving a student a zero for work not completed. Education Minister Jeff Johnson must stand up for Dorval, who was punished for following his values, principles and professional ethics.
The school board superintendent should be told to rehire Dorval and issue a public apology.
The way teachers are allowed to evaluate students should be changed to reflect what is actually going on in class, not to make students feel good regardless of their performance.
If the education minister kick-started these changes, he would have the support of teachers and all Albertans.
Mike Toffan, Edmonton
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