Group aiming to build new stadium, bring CFL team to Halifax submits revised plan
November 16, 2019 by The Canadian Press
HALIFAX—A proposal to build a 24,000-seat stadium for a potential Halifax CFL franchise has been updated by the business group fronting the idea after it was nearly quashed by municipal politicians.
Schooner Sports and Entertainment (SSE) said in a news release that newly proposed changes would reduce the risk to the municipality through an option for a new stadium ownership model.
The group said it is also clarifying how the municipality would fully recoup its annual contribution with the potential for profit sharing.
“Since submitting our proposal in August, we have been listening to public feedback and concerns of residents specifically around risk to the community,” said Anthony LeBlanc, SSE’s founding partner.
The revised proposal would see SSE contribute tens of millions of dollars towards stadium construction, fund all ongoing capital expenses, be responsible for all operational expenses regardless of who owns the stadium, repay the municipality’s full annual contribution and share the excess surcharge profit with the city.
The original proposal outlined various funding options for the stadium, including one in which the municipality would make an upfront payment of 15 to 20 per cent of the project’s cost.
Last month, regional council voted by a margin of nine to eight against a motion brought forward by Coun. Sam Austin that would have killed the proposal on the spot. Council subsequently voted to have SSE’s proposal analyzed by city staff, who are due to report back in early December.
“Our revised proposal takes this feedback into consideration and provides Halifax Regional Municipality with a stadium proposal that is the best deal for HRM, and in fact, is better than any stadium jurisdiction in North America,” LeBlanc said.
In the revised proposal SSE says it would welcome an ownership model that is acceptable to the municipality and that doesn’t include the group’s ownership of the stadium. However, it says it “understands and accepts” that the ownership model must ensure the municipality bears no operational risk.
The venue proposed for the Shannon Park area of Dartmouth, would be used for football, soccer, rugby, lacrosse and other sports, in partnership with Sport Nova Scotia, when not being used by the CFL. It would include an inflatable dome to be installed during the winter months.
SSE said it would also hold one or two major stadium concerts a year, a number of smaller amphitheatre-style concerts and at least one Grey Cup every 10 years.