Anti-capitalist group launches contest to rename Emera Oval
A group in Halifax says energy company Emera represents corporate greed and they want to see its name removed from the skating oval.
“We see the root of many of the problems facing us rooted in the system of capitalism,” says Brian Crouse, a member of the community-based, anti-capitalist organization Solidarity Halifax.
The group is taking aim at Emera’s association with the oval and has launched a contest to rename it.
“We are here today opening a contest to have the people choose a new name for the oval. Right now Emera has the name of the oval,” says Crouse.
“They are a company that makes hundreds of millions of dollars each year off of Nova Scotians paying their power bills.”
Voters can vote online and the winning name will be announced on March 9. But city officials say no matter the outcome, Emera’s signs are staying put.
“We have a contractual obligation, a sponsorship,” says city spokeswoman Shaune MacKinlay. “It will stay the Emera Oval as long as they have a contract and we have sponsorship money on the table from Emera.”
Oval skater Jason Methot says he supports the idea of a name change.
“I’d be up for changing the name. Something that reflects the way people feel about it,” he says.
On the other hand, Methot also assumes Emera’s sponsorship helps keep the venue open.
But Crouse says that isn’t the case.
“I’d say those numbers don’t add up. Emera donated $500,000, whereas Halifax spent $5.7 million with $400,000 of public money every year,” he says.
MacKinlay says it costs about $730,000 to run the oval each year, and sponsorship money is crucial.
“We have some public money in the oval. We have some corporate money in the oval,” she says. “The combinations of those two things allow us to keep this a free public amenity.”
Emera did not return a call requesting an interview.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Paul Hollingsworth