September 13, 2017
Edmonton City Council has endorsed a timeline for the Coliseum and the Northlands Park racetrack, providing, in the process, greater certainty for the future of Northlands and the communities that surround it.
The decision also supports the work the City of Edmonton is undertaking on the Coliseum Station Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP), allowing this work to progress in new ways that will support revitalization for the whole neighbourhood. The ARP will come back to Council and to the public for comment by early 2018, with a final plan presented by the end of 2018.
According to the terms of a memorandum of understanding with Northlands, the City will assume responsibility for the Coliseum on January 1, 2018. In addition, the area known as Northlands Park will transition to the City on the later of June 30, 2018, or 30 days following the date on which horse racing is no longer licensed on the site.
The release of the Coliseum back to the City allows Northlands to proceed with a viable business model that honours and returns the organization to its agricultural roots, with a more defined future.
A permanent closure of the Coliseum will take effect on January 1, 2018. The future of the building will be considered through the Area Redevelopment planning process.
Northlands’ return of the Coliseum to the City allowed for the renegotiation of the City’s sponsorship agreement with Oilers Entertainment Group. This negotiation resulted in the City being released from a sponsorship commitment of $17 million. That funding may now be considered by the City for other opportunities, including amateur sports in Edmonton.
The decision to permanently close the Coliseum reflects an ongoing commitment to use taxpayers’ money responsibly in all questions about the status and upkeep of the facility.
Agreements are also being prepared that would see Northlands continue to host K-Days and Farmfair International on the current site for at least the next five years.
The January 1, 2018, transition date for the Coliseum mirrors the date when the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation commences operation of the EXPO Centre.
The Coliseum Station Area Redevelopment Plan will establish a new vision for the site and nearby properties. The plan will leverage local revitalization initiatives to continue improving liveability for residents, businesses and visitors.