Sports Ottawa mayor: City won't subsidize Senators' move to downtown arena

16:25  12 january  2018
16:25  12 january  2018 Source:   theScore

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Mayor won ' t rule out public money for downtown arena . Welcome to Ottawa , Tom Anselmi. When reporters asked Mayor Jim Watson early this week whether he was up for sinking city money into a new Senators arena at LeBreton Flats, they were expecting him to reply with a resounding, "No."

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If the Ottawa Senators want to move downtown, it will be up to the team to foot the bill.

That's the stance of Ottawa mayor Jim Watson, who on Thursday told Jon Willing of the Ottawa Citizen that the local government won't help subsidize a new facility for the Senators.

While Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has made no public comment about the city helping to fund a new arena, Watson appears to be getting ahead of the game.

Rival Canadian cities, like Edmonton, have helped bankroll new facilities in recent seasons, and until recent discussions hit a standstill, Calgary was also in talks with the Flames on arena project funding.

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to write Mayor de Blasio and the City Council.

The City of Ottawa has no financial responsibility to keep an NHL team in the municipality, even if the owner of the Ottawa Senators has mused about relocating the club, Mayor Jim Watson says. “It was not helpful when Eugene blurted out that maybe (the Senators ) don’ t have to move downtown

"We should not be using property tax dollars to subsidize an NHL team," Watson said. "That's not the role of a municipal government, in my opinion."

As it stands, Melnyk is in negotiations with the National Capital Commission to build a new arena in the downtown neighborhood of LeBreton Flats. The hope is that a move closer to the city core will reinvigorate the team's sagging attendance figures.

The Senators currently play out of suburban Kanata, a commute that has proven to be a challenge for fans in recent seasons, particularly during last year's playoff run.

In the meantime, Melnyk hasn't been shy in voicing his frustrations with the sluggish pace of negotiations with the National Capital Commission.

That was especially evident ahead of last month's Centennial Classic, when he floated the possibility the Senators could leave Ottawa if the team's financial position did not improve, something that could become reality if a new arena does not come to fruition.

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Those comments didn't sit well with Watson.

"It was not helpful when Eugene blurted out that maybe (the Senators) don't have to move downtown because that's exactly at odds with what he and (NHL commissioner) Gary Bettman have been telling me going back four years, that the arena has to be in the downtown core," Watson added.

"I'm hoping he misspoke and is not casting doubt on all of the work we're putting in to getting the arena and the whole site revitalized in the downtown."

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Toronto opens two new warming centres for homeless residents .
After a barrage of criticism, and with temperatures set to take a dangerous plunge, the City of Toronto opened two new warming centres for homeless people and deployed outreach workers and ambulances to check on those who refuse to move indoors. Also, city and federal officials said Thursday discussions to open the Moss Park Armoury as a temporary respite centre were going well, and they expected an announcement later in the day.Mayor John Tory said the new round-the-clock warming centres would open at Metro Hall and Regent Park Community Centre at 7 p.m. and remain open until the extreme cold weather ends.

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