City councilors and the Edmonton Oilers agreed Wednesday to split the cost of the final $30 million needed to green light the wavy-shaped steel-and-glass structure in the city’s downtown in time for the 2016-17 NHL season.

“This has been a long and difficult process,” Mayor Stephen Mandel told councillors. “We need to make sure that we build a city that attracts and retains the younger generation.”

Construction is to start next spring and the city plans to pay off some of its debt through increased tax revenues from shops and businesses expected to spring up around the arena.

The total cost, including the rink and surrounding infrastructure, comes in at $604.5 million.

Under the arrangement, the Oilers are to pay $161.5 million, the city $279 million and another $125 million is to come from a ticket tax.

Last week, Mandel and political leaders from surrounding regions voted to seek another $25 million from the province under a regional grant program. The city says it will seek an additional $14 million in grants for a community rink attached to the project.

“The result today is a landmark agreement that enables our city to move forward in an enormously positive way,” said Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz, who was not at Wednesday’s council meeting, but spoke with reporters via speaker phone.


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