'Tell us what you want,' Mandel tells Katz

Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz must come to city hall and tell council what he wants, says Mayor Stephen Mandel.

"I don't know what the issues are any more," said a frustrated Mandel after Katz publicly chastized council in local newspapers for dithering over the proposed downtown arena.

"We've been going through this round and round," said Mandel. "I think council's been incredibly responsive, but I can no longer define what Mr Katz is asking for and what he's not asking for so I think the message to him is 'please come to city council tell us what you want.'

"Right now, we don't know."

Katz said he has always maintained that he needs $6-million a year from the city to subsidize operating costs once the arena is built, a claim councillors said caught them by surprise.

"I think that Mr Katz's memory of the history is different than mine," said Mandel.

The last week has seen a rift open between the Katz Group and city council, one that seems to growing more difficult to bridge each day.

"If we don't meet his conditions, the possibility of moving the team (has) been the case right from the beginning," said Coun. Tony Caterina. "I'm sure it'll be the case whether an agreement is done or not, that they'll keep coming back year after year for additional concessions."

In interviews, Katz said he fears delays and rising costs could price the $450-million arena "out of this market."

Katz said he has less than two years left in a lease deal with Rexall and would like to secure a deal on a new arena so construction could begin in the spring.

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