CFL group pleased with season ticket response, looks to clear up stadium funding questions
Published Thursday, November 8, 2018 9:43PM AST
The people behind a prospective CFL franchise for Halifax say the early response to their season ticket drive has been encouraging and on track.
But all this stadium talk has some wondering how the proposed stadium development will be paid for and by whom.
It's virtually impossible to talk about building a new stadium without wondering where the money is coming from.
Anthony Leblanc of Maritime Football Limited says he wants to set the record-straight on cash concerns.
“There's been a lot of misinformation that's out in the market -- it's an increase to our property tax -- it's not,” Leblanc said. “(Another is that) this is a tax grab through money that's been allocated for doctors, nurses and firefighters -- it's not.”
In its business plan, Maritime Football Limited expects the stadium will bring new developments to the Shannon Park area, such as restaurants, bars, and hotels.
Property taxes generated by those new developments over time, will contribute to funding the capital costs of the stadium.
As for provincial money?
“I’ve said there will be no money that will be coming out of general revenue,” said Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil. “There's been a number of ideas that have been floated -- a tax on car rentals as well as hotel rooms -- that potentially is a possibility for a revenue source, but it will not be coming out of current revenue or
current tax forms.”
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation agrees stadium funding needs to come from tickets not taxpayers.
The Atlantic director doesn't want to see what happened in Winnipeg happen here.
“The team couldn't even make the payments on the interest on the debt and so tax payers in Manitoba ended up having to assume that debt,” said Paige MacPherson.
But the stadium has its supporters, such as football fan Dominique Dib, who wants people around here to realize the potential a mixed-use stadium would bring to the area.
“Halifax, it's not a small town anymore, it's a big city,” Dib said. “It's so diverse and I think this is a tremendous opportunity to bring something like this to Halifax.”
It's an opportunity a group of CFL fans from the Yarmouth area have been working on for more than a decade.
Every year they host East Coast kitchen parties at the Grey Cup, raising awareness and excitement for a possible 10th franchise.
“We did get a visit from commissioner Randy Ambrosie last year at our venue,” said CFL stadium supporter Natasha Muise. “So, the support we've had from everybody has been great. It's really exciting that the potential team name will be announced at our venue.”
That announcement comes Nov. 23.
For now though, city staff continue to analyze the business case around a Shannon Park stadium.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Suzette Belliveau.