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The city has proposed having a mediator close the gap on the arena talks.
"We've asked about mediation, we've suggested a variety of things," said Mayor Mandel as one way for city council to gain some trust over Daryl Katz' need to get financial help.
"We need independent people to look at it and not to have some one who's controlled by the Katz Group or controlled by the city but some one who's independent to come up with ideas of what the numbers are."
"At that time we'll have meaningful discussions on the items that separate us."
Mandel says it could help, because neither side trusts the other's numbers. For instance on food alone, for just hockey nights, never mind concerts, Mandel says the Oilers should see an improved bottom line by $4 million in the new rink.
"I don't think citizens of Edmonton at this point in time are willing to and I don't think council is either to put a substantial subsidy in place when we believe this is very profitable for them."
The winter garden, the bridge across 104 avenue, is another bone of contention.
"Why would that be a cost to the arena? That's $3 million a year," contends Mandel who says in city council's opinion it's something Katz should pay for since it's a development item that leads from the arena to other properties Katz wants to operate.
Then there's the financing.
"Katz' $100-million that he agreed to put into the arena to begin with, council said okay we'll facilitate that by allowing you to finance it over a period of time at the city (interest) rates which is a much (lower rate)."
"You can put your money in your business but that's not a cost to the arena, that's the way you're building up your equity."
"If they put that to the cost of the arena, that's $8-million between the two," to the annual expense.
City council will get a verbal update from the administration at its December 12 meeting. Mandel says that update will be done in public, not behind closed doors. (sj/gb)
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