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Canada  

Arena talks 'not dead'

Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi says the city remains at the negotiating table for a new NHL arena even though the Flames have declared they've pulled out of talks.

The NHL team is frustrated with "spectacularly unproductive" negotiations, according to team president Ken King.

"We remain ready to negotiate in good faith," the mayor countered Wednesday.

"Council understands the importance of the Flames to this city, council understands the importance of having the Flames downtown.

"We worked very hard to come up with a deal that makes sense in this economy without impacting people's taxes that nonetheless participates in both the risk and the upside."

The initial $890-million CalgaryNext project the Flames pitched two years ago included an arena, football stadium and field house built on the west side of downtown.

The Flames' owners offered $200 million of their money and proposed a $250-million loan be repaid through a ticket surcharge, with the city covering the rest.

Council disagreed with the CalgaryNext price tag saying the project would cost approximately $1.8 billion when cleanup of creosote-soaked soil was included.

CalgaryNext moved to the back burner when council showed more enthusiasm for building an arena closer to the 34-year-old Scotiabank Saddledome in a planned arts and entertainment district on the downtown east side.

"I can tell you the city has a very fair offer on the table. One I think many Calgarians, most Calgarians will see as eminently reasonable. There is another offer on the table that most Calgarians will see as eminently unreasonable," said Nenshi.



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