Halifax accepts Molson Coors oval sponsorship deal
Published Tuesday, December 6, 2011 6:39PM AST
After skating around the issue, Halifax City Council has decided to accept a $400,000 sponsorship offer from Molson Coors in support of the Oval project on the Common.
Council originally turned down the sponsorship offer from the brewer, citing issues over a beer company earning naming rights to a family-friendly skating facility.
But council decided to revisit the issue, and after nearly three hours of passionate and sometimes bitter debate, councillors voted in favour of granting Molson the naming rights to the skating plaza located next to the oval.
Mayor Peter Kelly made it clear where he stands before the meeting began.
"Hopefully they do sit back and look at it and take the money," he told CTV News Tuesday afternoon. "I think it's important for a financial contribution."
And Kelly's wish came true.
The vote swung strongly in favour of accepting the Molson Coors deal and councillors voted 17 to five in favour. This means the brewer will be a sponsor at the oval over the next 10 years.
Councillor for District 12, Dawn Sloane says she is happy the debate was made public and is glad the Molson deal was approved.
"I know there has been a lot of debate and a lot of emails and phone calls from our constituents saying, you know, take the money and run," explains Sloane.
But not all of the councillors were happy about the city's change of heart.
Councillor for District 5, Gloria McCluskey says she is deeply disappointed because there is strong evidence that alcohol advertising encourages youth to drink.
"I can't understand why councillors can't look at these reports from the World Health Organization and all the doctors around here, and realize that is does play a role," says McCluskey.
But other councillors say they don't understand why there was controversy over the issue in the first place.
"The biggest family event in the HRM continuously over the last 18 years has been the Halifax Mooseheads, and that has not led to a detrimental effect on the youth," says District 18 councillor Steve Adams.
While Molson is offering $400,000 over 10 years, Emera – the parent company of Nova Scotia Power - has pledged $500,000 over a 15-year term.
Some details remain to be worked out, such as the length of the sponsorships, but the basic deal now has the support of council. As for the oval, it is due to open later this month.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ron Shaw
A can of Molson Canadian is seen in front of the can line at the Molson Breweries in Vancouver, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)