The Mule with a Spinning Wheel

The city is all abuzz this week after Daryl Katz came to city council with cap in hand, to discuss his vision for a downtown arena and entertainment district. Due to recent cutbacks in the newsroom here at SLOW FRESH OIL, we were unable to attend in person, but I believe I've been able to piece together an accurate account of things based on live-tweets from the meeting and my past knowledge of Morgan Freeman's work.

The usually illusive team owner kicked off the presentation with a brief introduction.

"The name's Daryl. Daryl Katz. And I come before you good people today with an idea. Probably the greatest...Awww, it's not for you. It's more of a Hamilton idea."

At this point, I believe Mayor Mandel interjected:

"Now wait just a minute. We're twice as smart as the people of Hamilton. Just tell us your idea and we'll vote for it."

"Alright," Katz replied. "I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll show you my idea. I give you the Edmonton Arena District!"

Audible gasps were heard from the crowd.

"They've built stadiums in Houston, Seattle, and Montreal. And by gum, it put them on the map! Well sir, there's nothing on earth like a genuine, bona fide, world class Arena district! What'd I say?"

"Arena District!" exclaimed Katz Group spokesman Bob Black, standing up from the crowd.

"What's it called?"

"Arena District."

"That's right. Arena District."

At this point, they shifted to the Q & A portion of the meeting. Katz fielded questions regarding noise ordinance and safety concerns.

"What about us brain dead slobs?" asked one attendee. "You'll be given goalie's jobs."

In closing, Katz swore that it was Edmonton's only choice, and encouraged the gallery to throw up their hands and rejoice.

If there was one person in attendance who was not swayed by the proposal, it was Councilor Iveson, who was clearly concerned that diverting funds to the arena project would lead to other infrastructure priorities, such as road repair, going unfunded. But this was definitely the minority opinion, as one of Iveson's colleagues was quoted saying "Sorry Don, the mob has spoken."

It certainly sounds like Daryl Katz made an impact with his appearance, but I happen to be of the opinion that a publicly funded arena is a folly the people of Edmonton just should not embark upon. If we want to revitalize the downtown, we are far better investing in other projects, like this proposed 50 foot magnifying glass I keep hearing about.

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