Mayor Naheed Nenshi calls his meeting on Wednesday with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman a “cordial and candid discussion of different views.”
Those are the same sentiments Bettman made following the meeting, after saying earlier in the week that Calgary needs a new arena “yesterday.”
During a scrum with reporters following Thursday’s Alberta budget announcement, Nenshi was asked about Bettman’s comments about the proposed CalgaryNEXT project being “vitally important.”
“It’s both vital and important according to Mr. Bettman,” Nenshi said. “You know, we have many things that are vitally important. We are in an economic downturn, a lot of people don’t know where their next meal is coming from. I’ve got a lot of priorities to work with.”
Nenshi said he’s willing to talk about the project, but maintains it has to make sense for the city, and insists “public money must be spent for public benefit.”
He was also asked about Bettman’s offer to be a mediator or work with all sides to make sure a deal was done.
“I’m not 100% sure that would be all that helpful,” Nenshi responded. “But he certainly did make that offer and I told him if we need him, we’ll call him.”