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Concerns raised over financing for new Markham arena

All you have to do is look at the ongoing situation in Glendale to understand the significant risk local governments take when they get involved in the building of stadiums.

So it’s no surprise city councilors in Markham, Ontario – a Toronto suburb – are requesting more information before taking on $325 million in debt to construct a new NHL-sized arena.

“I have a lot of concerns,” councilor Valerie Burke told the Toronto Star. “With everything else we discuss in council, we are given very detailed reports. But with this we have just been given a very rosy picture. We are not being given all the details of the deal.”

Currently the plan calls for businessmen Graeme Roustan and Rudy Bratty to pay back half the $325 million, plus interest. The other half will supposedly come from residential developers via a levy on new homes.

As such, supporters of the arena, including the mayor, believe they can call it privately financed.

Roustan also claims an NHL tenant isn’t required in order to make a profit.