Metro/Annalise Klingbeil John Karvellas, executive vice president of the Katz Group, spoke to Edmonton City Council on Wednesday.

Representatives from the Katz Group are pleased after city council voted to resume discussions about the proposed downtown arena and to find a mediator to help with negotiations before Jan. 23, 2013.

The motion passed by council late Wednesday afternoon will see a mediator appoint a financial analyst to evaluate assumptions and analysis from the Katz Group. The mediator will also help evaluate non-financial issues.

Following almost five hours of discussion and a presentation from three members of the Katz Group, council also voted in favour of extending the deadline on the land agreement to April 30, 2013 (from Dec. 31, 2012).

After the nearly unanimous vote, Mayor Stephen Mandel told media that the arena deal is ultimately “all about money.”

Mandel said all parties are now in a position to move forward and get some things done.

“We’ve got to get going. I mean, this is enough,” he said.

In a press conference following the council meeting, John Karvellas, executive vice president of the Katz Group, thanked city council for re-opening the door to negotiations.

“Our aim today was to restart negotiations with the city of Edmonton. Again, we were very pleased that the vast majority of city councillors feel the same way,” he said.

Karvellas presented at city council and answered questions from councillors along with Patrick LaForge, president of the Edmonton Oilers and Michael Shugarman, the Principal of Shugarman Architecture + Design Inc.

While negotiations are back on, several challenges remain, including a Winter Garden bridge that Katz representatives said is “hugely important” to the project and $100 million that’s missing in funding for the project.

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