NS: Stadium won't happen without private sector support, say HRM councillors

Haley Ryan, Metro Halifax
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Business leaders and councillors are hearing a pitch from Canadian Football League Commissioner Mark Cohon today about the possibility of bringing a team here and the advantages of getting a new outdoor stadium off the ground.

The Shannon Park site in Dartmouth has long been a top pick as a location for a possible new stadium for HRM.

[HALIFAX, NS] - One HRM councillor says she’s heard lots of a support for a new stadium from the public, but it’s up to the private sector to agree to share the cost alongside all levels of government before that becomes a reality.

Business leaders and councillors are hearing a pitch from Canadian Football League Commissioner Mark Cohon today about the possibility of bringing a team here and the advantages of getting a new outdoor stadium off the ground.

Councillor Lorelei Nicoll said Sunday she was interested in seeing why the league was so interested in Halifax and what a potential agreement could look like.

“I’m hoping that I hear the same enthusiasm from the private sector as I’m hearing from the residents who so desperately want this,” Nicoll said.

Besides being home to a possible CFL team, Nicoll said a large stadium that seats over 20,000 people could attract big musical acts that have never performed east of Montreal, and boost the local economy.

Halifax’s large airport is also a draw for other international events looking to come here, she said.

“That’s the potential that a stadium could do,” Nicoll said. “It’s more than just a stadium, more than a CFL team.”

Nicoll said getting a concrete plan in motion is “all about partners, not about government taking the lead,” which councillor Stephen Adams agreed with.

“The private sector will be the tell-tale sign here because they’re the individuals that will benefit from a financial perspective,” Adams said. “If the local business community doesn’t support it, then it’s probably not a good investment.”

In 2012, the former council agreed to spend $20 million on a stadium during a bid to host the 2015 FIFA women’s soccer cup but didn’t find enough partners to continue the project.

Nicoll said she would like to see the federal government set aside Shannon Park’s old military area for a stadium, and enter into a master plan with HRM and the province.

“It’s not about being a world-class city. It’s about being who we are and being unique to that … and making it happen that way,” Nicoll said.

In an interview with Metro on Thursday, Cohon said the time has never been better for the CFL to expand to 10 teams and be truly coast to coast.

Organizations: Canadian Football League, FIFA, Metro inc.

Geographic location: HALIFAX, Montreal, Shannon Park

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  • Brian Warshick
    February 10, 2014 - 23:43

    We should adopt and adapt the Cdn Olympic slogan. Instead of "Own the Podium" it should be Halifax, "Own the Stadium" !