Markham council defers vote on release of arena documents Staff

2/12/2013 10:05:24 AM

Markham city council voted 8-5 on Tuesday in favor of seeking a second legal opinion on whether to release all documents related to the viability of the proposed 20,000-seat GTA Centre north of Toronto.

A motion calling on the city to release all documents and reports related to the proposed building was introduced last month. It includes financial reports, client-privilege communications, transaction structure details, project analysis, professional opinions and economic impact analysis.

The motion also calls for a list of associated costs and funding sources for each report.

The reports were commissioned by the council before the arena financing deal was approved last spring, but the details have not been made public.

Last month, city councilors voted to approve the existing financing model for an NHL-sized arena on Tuesday night.

A motion had been put forward to rescind the approval for the project which was to be funded by a mixture of private and public funds but that motion was struck down by council by a narrow 7-6 margin.

Council originally supported the concept of funding the project by an overwhelming margin last year, but public support had waned with the fear of losses if there is no NHL team is a tenant.

The arena complex is expected to cost $325 million, all of which would be borrowed by the city under the current plan with GTA Sports and Entertainment, the private partners behind the project, paying back half that amount. The city plans to pay back the rest of the loan through levies on developers and surcharges on parking and event tickets, resulting in no increase in taxes on residents.