Feds and province buck up for redevelopment plan

photo courtesy calgary exhibition and stampede


From left, Vern Kimball, Calgary Stampede Board CEO, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice and Calgary Stampede Board President and Chairman George Brookman celebrate the announcement of $40 million in funding for the Calgary Stampede expansion yesterday.

The Calgary Stampede itself ended up the biggest day-money winner yesterday as Premier Ed Stelmach and Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Jim Prentice announced a combined $40 million in funding for future Stampede grounds expansion.

Prentice pledged $25 million from the federal government’s Building Canada Fund to the Western Legacy project — a $53-million development along the banks of the Elbow River that includes river valley restoration, development of an inner-city park and relocation of the traditional “Indian Village.” Prentice said the federal government would make an immediate $15-million commitment, with the remaining $10 million to be doled out as the Stampede expansion plans are finalized.

“As the Stampede moves forward into the future, as a defining institution in this marvelous city of ours, our national government will travel that road as your partner,” said Prentice.

Premier Ed Stelmach continued the Calgary Stampede windfall, declaring the provincial government’s completion of a $50-million commitment to the Stampede’s expansion with this final installment of $15 million.

Calgary Stampede president and chairman of the board George Brookman praised both levels of government for their ‘visionary’ approach to the project, which he referred to as “a green oasis in the middle of an intense metropolitan core.

“I could not be more excited about it,” Brookman said.

The Calgary Stampede is embarking on major expansion that will see, among other things, a new casino, hotel and promenade along 12 Ave. S.E.

Afterwards, Stelmach was questioned on the timing and optics of such the funding announcement in the face of eroding support in Calgary and yesterday’s pie incident — which was linked with the affordable housing crunch in the city.

“If you are asking me why we’re making the announcements it’s because they are really good announcements for Calgary,” he said when pressed by reporters.

“This is a huge investment in the city — an investment in its people.

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