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Markham arena vote set for tonight

Jan 29, 2013, 1:55 PM EDT

Markham

Markham city councilors are expected to vote tonight on whether to continue with plans to build a 20,000-seat arena that would see the Toronto suburb take out a $325-million to fund construction of the NHL-caliber rink.

Under the controversial proposal, billionaire developer Rudy Bratty (fronted by former Bauer CEO Graeme Roustan) would pay back half the $325 million of the debt, plus interest. The other half would come from residential developers via a levy on new homes.

Should the plan go ahead, there’s no guarantee an NHL team will follow. And that has councilor Valerie Burke concerned.

“It is a big vision,” Burke told the National Post. “But, fundamentally, we were elected by the residents. And we all said in our campaigns that we were going to listen to the residents. And it’s very, very clear that the residents are extremely worried that we could be facing the fallout and a white elephant.

“That’s why we’re there: To listen to the residents. And I don’t have any trouble with this, because I can tell you as a Markham resident myself, it does really worry me that we could be faced with a financial disaster.”

Meanwhile, in Glendale…

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