For the “311” numbers, I was told that there has been a steady number of callers that have opposed the arena, with very few calls in support. That is, until the Oilers last two home games, where announcements were made asking people to call into 311, at which point spikes happened for the first few days (about 1200 calls), and then went way down, came up again for a few days (with about another 900 calls), and then went way down again. With that said, there has been about 2500 calls in support of the arena, and 1700 calls against. In addition, there have been approximately 300 calls that might support it, but only under certain conditions. For the people who think that perhaps the Oilers tried to “buy” a few votes, those caller numbers were about 2100 of the 2500, leaving really only about 400 who are in favor. Allowing for “grace” for people who might have normally called in to support the Oilers, say 10%… lets add in another 250 which makes those values around 650 in favor, compared to the steady stream of 1700 against.
From calls made directly to councilor offices, and since the numbers from the 7 members or assistants that I spoke with are consistently the same from those 7, it’s safe to presume the remaining folks would likely be close to the same. The overall numbers of the calls have been in the range of 95-100 percent who have been against ANY taxpayer funds going into the arena. (Truth be told, the lowest figure I was given was 98% but to be "fair" I stated 95%.)
The contract with the Canadian Finals Rodeo event, between the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association and Northlands, expires after the 2016 event. The CFR will continue to be at Rexall no matter what transpires with the proposed arena complex. Here are some things you should be thinking about...
1) It is common knowledge that the animals involved, are housed at Northlands during the evening, and “as required”. This is a short trip of a kilometer or less and as a result, the stress on those animals is kept to a bare minimum. Clearly, the welfare of the animals is of great importance to everyone.
2) IF… the CFR were to be held at a new downtown arena, the transportation of these animals would be considerably more difficult. With only 350 parking stalls available, the space these large track trailer units need for maneuvering, the additional distance these big units would have to travel through city streets to gain access to Northlands to house them… think about how that can be accomplished, think about how the CFR considers the animal welfare, and ask yourself, if you were going to decide who would get the next contract... “is this where we want to be”.
3) Calgary will certainly bid AGAIN to host the CFR. You have to know they will bid strongly.
4) Other events in the past, for the World Championships (which is the National Finals Rodeo), had been held year after year in Oklahoma City. When their contract came up, they lost it to Las Vegas. This is just a reminder that having the CFR here in Edmonton, under a new contract to start in 2017, is no where NEAR a “sure thing”.
5) The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association is currently pleased with the locational proximity of the event being held in Rexall, and the animals being housed at NorthLands. They also like the setup in Calgary, where the animals can be held in the Stampede grounds infield area.