Original proposal scaled down

Plans to build a massive beluga whale exhibit at the Calgary Zoo have been sunk because of ballooning costs.


The zoo outlined a scaled-down expansion plan in a report to the community and protective services committee yesterday after their original plan for Arctic Shores enclosure ballooned to twice the original cost of $120 million.


Ald. Joe Ceci told Metro it’s a good thing zoo officials have pared back their plans for expansion, which also included a new banquet hall and restaurant.


“I agree with them that they need to plan within the available money they have,” said Ceci.


The Beluga whale exhibit had come under fire from critics because of its size, as some said the planned size of the aquarium was too small to house the massive whales.

“It’s probably a good coincidence that they don’t have the money to build that right now,” said Ceci. “It would have been problematic. From a public perception point of view there’s a concern generally in society (about having the whales in captivity).”

falling short

  • The city has committed $30 million to the proposed whale exhibit, and Ald. Joe Ceci said the total cost will come to about $130 million.