Battle of Alberta: Arena Wars Pt. 2, “Calgary Strikes Back”

Battle of Alberta: Arena Wars Pt. 2, “Calgary Strikes Back”

 

Edmonton, Alberta’s Capital City, has nearly completed their brand new arena. This epic addition to the city has already sent shockwaves through the world of sports-related construction, and even though the eventual cost will pass the $600 million mark, the project appears to be poised to benefit the local economy immensely, with billions of dollars in investment already beginning to pour in.

 

So, when one rival makes a “power move” of such impact, what might be a fitting response?

 

Possibly to stand back, clap generously, and admit defeat?

 

Not bloody likely.

 

The Calgary Flames Sports and Entertainment is in the process of planning “CalgaryNEXT.” Located in the West Village, this $890 million mega-complex is of grandiose proportions. If completed, it will not only be home to the Calgary Flames, but also the Hitmen (Western Hockey League), Roughnecks (National Lacrosse League), and the Stampeders (Canadian Football League).

 

Yes, The Stampeders.

 

Along with the proposed hockey arena, which would seat slightly fewer fans than the new Oilers rink, the facility would also include 30,000 seats at an interconnected indoor stadium. Here, the Calgary Stampeders would play their home games.
The current proposal has Calgary’s public taxpayers paying roughly $200 million to complete the project, about the same as Edmonton’s citizens paid. However, unlike former Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel, Naheed Nenshi appears to be stubborn when it comes to picking the pockets of his populace:

 

“I know that Calgarians require very wealthy people from New York to come and tell us what we need to do in our community because they understand vibrancy better than we do,” Nenshi stated. “Perhaps in other cities that he has come to, the city councils have just written checks based on back-of-a-napkin proposals without any consultation to the public or without any analysis. That’s not how we operate here.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has threatened that Calgary’s 30 year old stadium is too decrepit to play host to an All-Star Game or NHL Entry Draft, and has even brought the battle of Alberta into the rhetoric:

“When Canada celebrates the 150th anniversary of its confederation, the Battle of Alberta hockey will still be legendary, but the Battle of Alberta arenas won’t be close — and that’s no joke.”

This has failed to rattle the cage of Calgary’s Mayor, as he asked, “When did we get to a point where a 30 year building is considered obsolete?”

Nenshi will wait for the committee behind CalgaryNEXT to research their cause further and provide legitimate reasoning for the construction of the macro-complex. Mayor Nenshi will have his plan of action dictated mostly by one voice: the tax-paying public.

The CalgaryNEXT committee believes there are a number of benefits to Calgarians, including an initial $900 million in construction activity. As far as construction of this new Calgary sports facility goes, it would be hard to believe that this is a matter of “if” and not “when,” but Calgarians should be proud that their leader is avoiding the controversial (and arguably heedless) immediacy of Edmonton’s earlier in the 2010’s. Calgary and Edmonton are two very different cities; they have different needs. Right now, Nenshi believes that a more modern sports facility (at great expense to the municipal and public purse) is not an immediate need, nor a commitment worth rushing into with questionable terms. When (or if) the project does begin, it will be a feat of construction that may manage to steal some thunder from Calgary’s rival to the North.

Edmonton Construction News – Edmonton’s Rogers Place Arena

Battle of Alberta: Arena Wars Pt. 1, “A New Hope”

 

On February 16, 2016, Rogers Media Executive Scott Moore published the following ‘tweets’ on his Twitter account:
“Just had a tour of Rogers Place Arena in Edmonton 6 months to opening. It will be–by far–the most impressive arena in North America.”
“… Overall, amazing architecture.”

 

These statements were made in regards to the massive construction undertaking which began to emerge as a dominant conversation topic in Edmonton in 2011. But, in contrast to the optimism which is gracing the project as it takes form, it has not been all sunshine and stadium beers over the last five years..

 

Built in 1974, the Oilers’ current home, Rexall Place is currently the NHL’s second oldest arena. Five Stanley Cup winning squads have called the building home. However, lately Rexall Place has frequented lists of “Worst Arena’s in the NHL,” sat near the bottom of “Fan Experience” rankings, and even racked up 24 health code violations, which has earned it the prestigious title of “Canada’s worst major sports stadium for food safety.”

 

In July of 2008, Daryl Katz purchased the Edmonton Oilers franchise for $200 million dollars. Then, the pharmaceutical mogul quickly enacted his plan of action: to construct a proper home for the Oilers, while revitalizing Edmonton’s sleepy downtown.

Initially, skeptical voices in the public sounded with fury when it was learned that Daryl Katz was contributing a mere $100 Million of the anticipated $600 million required for the project. Many were upset with (former) Mayor Stephen Mandel for using his influence and power to appropriate municipal, provincial, and public funds to ensure the imminence of Katz’s vision coming to fruition. Now, after a tumultuous journey in which the eccentric billionaire repeatedly stepped on the public’s toes, Katz has committed $161 million. The City of Edmonton has agreed to contribute $279 million- mostly through a Community Revitalization Levy. The CRL practically acts as a loan which will be paid back by the real estate projects which this arena project will bring to life; these investments appear to be substantial. Still, this means that over $200 million is coming from Edmonton taxpayers, which has angered many.
But the impact on the economy and identity of Edmonton cannot be understated, and is only beginning to be understood. So far, $2.5 billion worth of investments and real estate development in Edmonton’s downtown can be traced directly to the arena and the “Ice District.” Perhaps the centerpiece of the ripple of construction which is expanding from the arena is the 62-storey Stantec Tower, which will be Canada’s second highest standing tower.

 

The state of the art arena facility will seat almost 19,000 people. It will also be connected to many shops, hotels, and restaurants, a smaller hockey rink which will host up to 1000, and a massive High Definition scoreboard screen which is slated to be the biggest in the world.
Construction began on March 3, 2014, and the building is finally taking shape. Now, excitement around the city is beginning to swell. Prior pessimism is eroding as Edmonton’s dreary downtown is beginning to brim with potential. Property values near the nucleus of the action are soaring and Edmonton is receiving international attention for this ambitious urban accomplishment. One can only hope that the Edmonton Oilers, who have dwelt in the basement of the NHL’s standings for nearly a decade, can be ready to do their new home justice when they begin the 2016-2017 season this coming October.
Meanwhile, not to be outdone, their rivals in Calgary are planning a sports facility of their own, which we will explore in Part 2 of this series…

Calgary Construction News – Ring Road

Calgary Ring Road Nears Completion

 

After 40 years of ups and downs around an incomplete circle, the final stretch of the Calgary Ring Road construction saga is almost in sight. NDP Infrastructure Minister Brian Mason has vowed that, this summer, a contractor will be selected. Construction will begin before the end of the year, according to Mason.

 

He went on about the importance of the agreement which, after decades of rejection, was finally reached between the province and the Tsuut’ina Nation in 2013. This historic agreement arranged for the transfer of over 5000 acres of reserve lands to accommodate a portion of the Southwest Calgary Ring Road… Over $340 million in funds were agreed to be paid to the Tsuut’ina Nation, and final arrangements for completing the road could finally be made.

 

With traffic expecting to finally be moving (and stalled) on the road by the fall of 2021, it is difficult to fathom that the idea of building this Calgary Ring Road project began to gather momentum over 60 years ago, and real action began taking place in the 1970’s. It’s been a long time coming.
As of the last public update, 3 potential contractors had been shortlisted from the list of qualified applicants: Mountain View Partners, Valley Link Partners, and Southwest Connect.

 

It is estimated that, in the end, this leg of the road will end up costing $2.8 billion to construct. Still, it is easy to agree; sometimes, less jam in the rush hour traffic seems absolutely priceless.

Custom Table Project

Hello everyone,

Happy New Year to all our esteemed clients and visitors of this blog. We are proud to announce that our 5-star rating blog is full of ambition, renovation projects, and success! We have been very busy. However, it will not make us stop what we love doing!

Since the last talk and the end of the bottom of the grand staircase, I started a table project. After creating a model in Sketch Up, I went to buy oak timber directly from a sawmill. I started by edging the pads to remove the sapwood and defects, and to select my pieces. Nico (workmate) thank you for the help! Hours later, the necessary boards were ready to move on the jointer.

Fast forward, Nico and I then planed 4 feet poles to move from one section of 12 x 12 cm (gross) 10 x 10 cm (planed). I had then aligned to cut the same length. The four legs are ending, Melanie came as reinforcements to help me planning the boards. Having no chip vacuum, we laid a carpet workshop in the wood. Then I invested in a brilliant – but very expensive tool, a Festool Domino. This creates the false stand with impressive precision. That looks like the beast.

And here was the first try that helped assemble the feet by 2:

After a sound collage we noticed a slight difference between the sleepers and poles. This corresponded to the thickness of the plate since the table legs were to be apparent above.

After that, each board was grooved to the router, and a 10mm plywood tab inserted into each junction, along the entire length. Oak reinforcements were screwed from below to improve the stability of the assembly. Romaine came to help me to glue it all, thanks to him! The next day, after the glue had dried, I sawed the board and had inserted in the previously created structure. The wood wedding tray ended, and I liked immediately! I then cut the last missing pieces and assembled the same way.

Finally, after many hours of sanding, spackling a few knots, treatment with xylophene then three coats of matt clearcoat, we placed the table in the house. On a serious note, I was very proud of the result. My first table, 2m 20 x 1m 05, solid oak was eventually complete.

A project that I liked, despite the thirty hours it consumed. The table remained until Christmas to Mr. Cordova, and then she went to her new owner in Regina. This job was labour intensive so I was very happy that I invested in a professional planer-jointer. I decided to sell my Lurem C200 (jointer-planer only). The table was a reflection of what it can achieve. If anyone is interested, kindly pull the trigger and let me know!

After this mega project, we tackled the living room. Melanie took care of painting. Several years ago we lived with the underlay of gypsum board, which frankly was not the most beautiful effect. A gray “dove”, very soft, had covered the entire room. The interior integrated living room furniture assumed a darker gray color…we had to do something and bring life back to the weird place!