CFL group preparing to give stadium pitch to Halifax this week
In the aftermath of Touchdown Atlantic, the subject is now shifting from the action on the field to that off the field – particularly a potential debate at Halifax Regional Council.
"A lot of people are concerned about cutting a cheque," said Halifax Deputy Mayor Tony Mancini.
The main pressure point is how much a CFL stadium in Dartmouth will cost.
The thinking on the street is that more than one level of government would have to contribute funds to make it happen, and the question at the top of everyone's mind is how many tax dollars would be spent on the project.
CTV News has learned the formal stadium pitch by Schooners Sports and Entertainment will be made to the city later this week.
"The proponents will be giving their plan to the CAO, who will in turn ask municipal staff to review the proposal before putting together a report for Regional Council," Halifax Regional Municipality spokesman Brendan Elliott wrote in an e-mail. "No timelines have been set for when that will happen. The timeline to put it before council will depend on what the business case from the proponents looks like."
Elliott said as of Wednesday afternoon, nothing had been received.
"The question is, how do we get the stadium? What's our contribution?" Mancini said. "Those are the questions yet to be answered."
The proposed facility would be built at Shannon Park in Dartmouth. Mancini, who represents a Dartmouth district, says he's in favour of a stadium -- but not at any cost.
"What is it that you want HRM to contribute?" Mancini said. "Is it a cheque? I'm not a big fan of cutting a cheque."
A new stadium could bring an economic boost to the area, especially on the Dartmouth side of the harbour.
"People would be spending nights in the city, dining out in the city, and shopping," said Tim Rissesco from the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission.
He also says developing the parcel of land in Shannon Park could lead to new urban infrastructure and expanded transportation links.
"We could add a third ferry to this location and get people downtown, and get people to the games from here," Rissesco said.
He supports the idea, but only if it makes economic sense for the city and province.
"There's so many other things we can be spending public dollars on, so the business case for this has to work," Rissesco said.
As for Sunday's Touchdown Atlantic game in Moncton, Mancini doesn't connect any success in Moncton to the league's viability in Halifax.
"I think it's two separate things," Mancini said. "Halifax is different. Halifax has the population. We're the economic driver of Atlantic Canada."
Mancini says Halifax is a proven market.
It just needs to build a stadium and launch a CFL team with a sound business plan in place.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Paul Hollingsworth.