Edmonton city council voted to end all negotiations with the Katz group Wednesday as the future of a downtown arena continued to deteriorate.
In a unanimous vote, council voted to end negotiations, look into how to potentially recoup the investments the city has made already and what they could take out and to explore all other options for NHL hockey in Edmonton.
Mayor Stephen Mandel, appearing obviously frustrated said the city needed to send a message to Daryl Katz that he needed to earnestly come to table.
“The problem we face in the city is that we have a partner who has not as of yet agreed to do something,” he said. “I don’t believe we are much further today than we were four years ago.”
Mandel said Katz needed to understand that the city believed it had done enough a year ago and won’t go any further.
“We need to send a message that you got a fair deal. Stand up to that fair deal,” Mandel said.
He said if the Katz group could provide information about why the Oilers needed so much financial support it might be different, but there is no indication they do.
Mandel also said Edmonton loves the Oilers and loves hockey, but not at all costs.
“There is a love for that game that does not exist in any other city and I think it is wrong to hold us up for ransom,” said Mandel.
While a debate broke out over the right word to use Coun. Don Iveson said the most important thing to make clear is that the Katz group has to step up.
“What we are saying is do not spend anymore administrative time until we get an olive branch,” said Iveson.
Coun Amarjeet Sohi said the public should fully understand that it is the Katz group that is breaking off the deal.
“The negotiations are being stopped by the Katz group,” he said.
Sohi also emphasized the second part of the motion and said council should consider everything including building an arena on its own.
“I think we shouldn’t shy away form the option of building our own,” said Sohi.