Degrading The Brand

19 Jan

“We might not like to hear such a statement, we might hate the notion of the Oilers leaving Edmonton, and a vocal minority certainly detests the idea of any public money going to a new downtown arena. Nonetheless, the Katz Group’s position is rational and reasonable.”

Emphasis is mine.

That’s columnist David Staples in today’s Edmonton Journal. Turns out the Katz Group doesn’t need to threaten relocation. David will do the dirty work for them.

Interestingly, here’s David Staples on Twitter on December 1st, 2010.

“If the Katz Group really wants to move the #Oilers to Quebec City, good riddance.

Also from December 1st, 2010.

“If this is true, the OIlers and Katz Group better give their heads a shake. They can shove their Pocklington tactics.”

And more from December 1st, 2010

“The more the Oilers play this move-the-team card about moving the team, the more they remind me of Pocklington, the colder I get to any plan to build a new arena for them in Edmonton. It’s not a good notion to push, I would suggest. It degrades their brand.”

Apparently David isn’t keen on applying that same logic to himself.


**Update** It appears that Oilers President and CEO Patrick LaForge was in Hamilton last week for a secret meeting with some city councillors. The Hamilton Spectator is reporting that LaForge was there “to talk about the NHL, HECFI, and the Pan Am stadium.” Apparently there’s an NHL subcommittee in Hamilton, and LaForge was meeting with members of that group. Impeccable timing by the Katz Group, really. Right as Edmonton City Council is meeting to discuss the use of a Community Revitalization Levy, and approves your zoning application, you’ve got your team president having secret meetings in a city dying for an NHL franchise.


6 Responses to “Degrading The Brand”

  1. Christopher Hartley September 14, 2012 at 12:12 am #

    How is there still nothing new here?

  2. chartleys May 28, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    I’m guessing you threw in the towel by now. Thanks for trying to put some reason into an unreasonably rail roaded civic coffer bleed.

  3. chartleys April 5, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    Where are you man? City katzil is about to pull of a perfect crime and there is nothing here…

    Katz retracts his statement, media reports how great that is, Edmonton pats themselves on the back for holding Katz feet to the fire and the arena is built.

    Anyone that tries to still contest the stupidity of it all will be labelled a commie and jeered at.

  4. Sean W March 15, 2011 at 9:36 am #

    Went to see Pat Laforge speak at a breakfast this morning. He was lobbed a ton of softballs regarding the arena, and also claimed that the reason a public-private partnership is necessary to build the arena is that only one private investor has stepped up to the plate. I wonder if that’s because no other private investor will agree to fund 75% of the project and receive 0 return.

    Also, apparently LA Live has revitalized Watts.

  5. Adam D January 19, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

    David Staples is a shining beacon into the dark world of journalism.

  6. Sean W January 19, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    Andy, I cannot believe the arguments being presented by David Staples in his most recent article. If arena supporters haven’t been absolutely without a doubt wrong until now, his latest post removes all doubt. This is a comment I posted to his blog:

    “Ok, your argument is that: WHEN and IF the Oilers can’t afford to play in Edmonton because the economy is in the dumps, we’ll be happy that we agreed to pay millions of dollars in interest at the expense of other services.

    In your doomsday scenario, will it matter which building is not full of paying spectators? You contend that the team will have to move because it won’t receive enough revenue to continue to operate in Edmonton, because Edmontonians won’t have enough money to continue to pay to go to games, buy merchandise etc. How will a new arena change that? You’ll simply have 10,000 people in a 19,000 seat arena, instead of 10,000 people in a 17,000 seat arena!

    Furthermore, should whatever corporate entity that owns the Oilers (I point out, NOT Darryl Katz and NOT Rexall Pharmacies) continue losing money, they will presumably go bankrupt! At which point, a bankruptcy court can break a lease agreement, location agreement, or whatever agreement the Oilers have to stay in Edmonton! Furthermore, as the City will own the arena, NOT whatever corporate entity that owns the Oilers, there will be NO incentive to stay as they WILL NOT BE LOSING MONEY OPERATING THE ARENA!

    Finally, should Edmonton be in such dire straights financially that we cannot afford to keep the hockey team around, do you think Edmontonians will really care about the Oilers, or will they be more concerned about BASIC CITY SERVICES that the City now cannot afford BECAUSE THEY ARE PAYING FOR A NEW ARENA?

    Your logic, or the lack thereof is astounding.


    The “highly-vocal minority”

    In addition to those arguments, I’d like to share the following:

    I recently moved back to Edmonton from Calgary. I was very disappointed in the lack of good inner-city communities, like Bridgeland where I lived in Calgary. Bridgeland is walking distance to downtown, has bus service come every 8 minutes during the morning and afternoon rush, has LRT service, has fantastic restaurants and amenities, great people who live there, and high property values. I lamented there was no Bridgeland in Edmonton I could move to.

    So it got me thinking – why is there no Bridgeland, no Kensington, no Mission, and no other equivalent to the numerous great inner city neighborhoods in Calgary? Then, my job offered me FREE PARKING downtown.

    So instead of needing to find a place to live close to downtown to avoid parking and commuting, I’m now free to choose any community I want! As someone with a young family, I now don’t have to compromise my need for a short and inexpensive commute with condo living, I can now move to numerous Edmonton neighborhoods and have a single-family home with a backyard etc at no great cost to me!

    Edmonton doesn’t have great inner-city neighborhoods because its disincentivized! Parking cost and commuting time is not so high that most people would be willing to make the necessary lifestyle compromises to live downtown! And no hockey arena is going to change that!

    Being an avid traveller, I have been to numerous cities across North America and across the world. One of my favorites so far has been Boston. My wife and I travelled to Boston and were amazed at how vibrant and walkable the city was! From crossing the river from Cambridge, we walked the entire way to Fenway park, stopped and had lunch, shopped, and had drinks at numerous spots along the way! The only true way to revitalize any area, is to have people living there.

    So, the city can spend 400 million on a new arena in a vain attempt to revitalize downtown. However, it revitalization was the goal, wouldn’t it make way more sense to spend 400 million building condos and townhouses in East Downtown? Calgary is doing it with the east village!

    Now imagine this. I am a developer who wants to buy and redevelop east downtown Edmonton. I propose building 2,000 residential units. However, because the area is totally decrepit and unattractive to potential purchasers, the only way it makes sense for me to do so, is to subsidize my development. Let’s say to the tune of 20,000 per unit. These units will now house taxpayers, paying on average 2000 worth of property taxes per year. So my development will generate (and I know, it won’t be NEW revenue), 4,000,000 in revenue per year. Imagine what happens when I go to council and ask for $40,000,000 in subsidies! I am laughed out of the place, despite the fact that my plan will do more to revitalize downtown Edmonton than any arena ever could, will cut down on infrastructure spending because presumably the purchasers will walk to work, and generate 4,000,000 a year in taxes! I would be laughed off the floor.

    Food for thought. Speaking to everyone I know on this issue, he “vocal minority” Staples talks about is far from vocal, and far from a minority.

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