In a city that has to account for billions every year, finding $5 million in savings is like a drop in the bucket. But, for a City Council trying to keep the tax hike for 2024 down to 6.6 per cent, every dollar counts.
That’s why council voted 10-3 to axe $5 million that it had previously pledged to the A1 Athletic Facility, a planned north-side sports complex with enclosed soccer fields, pickleball courts, basketball courts and training facilities.
A1 was originally set to break ground in the Gorman neighbourhood last year, but it has run into issues with costs.
“As much as we are disappointed in the City’s decision, we will carry on with our quest to provide this for North Edmonton,” wrote A1 president Raj Mahmi in an email. “The cost had skyrocketed due to interest and supply chain issues. Infrastructure costs kept us delayed.
“We have chosen a new site close by, still in North Edmonton and will approach the city for a contribution. They did need the funds for pressing issues at this moment and we all just hope our City is looked after. I look forward to council’s reappropriation in the near future. The discussion will continue.”
The money was promised in the 2022 budget, as the City had identified that “the current service provision of indoor turf is inadequate and the City should enhance the current level of service.”
The City noted that the Edmonton Soccer Dome, located south of Ellerslie Road, was over 90 per cent booked — and that was in 2022.
And, when it comes to prime-time openings, Saturdays and Sundays, and weekdays when the kids are out of school, it’s hard to find space there.