Halifax still waiting for CFL stadium business case
Published Friday, January 18, 2019 9:35PM AST
Football fans in the Maritimes will have to wait a long while until they hear about the future of the CFL in Halifax.
The city is still waiting to receive the business plan for a CFL stadium and enthusiasm for the project has cooled in the meantime.
In November, there was palpable excitement from the private group working to bring a CFL franchise to Halifax when maritime football limited announced a season ticket drive -- for a team that didn't have a name yet.
“If you make season ticket deposit, you'll also be able to participate in selecting the name of Canada's next CFL team,” Anthony Leblanc, the founder of Maritime Football Limited said last fall.
The Atlantic Schooners have a name now, but still don't have a home.
A business case to build a $170-million football stadium at Shannon Park in Dartmouth was expected hot on the heels of the ticket drive, but Halifax deputy mayor Tony Mancini says the city has yet to receive it.
That means council doesn't know yet what kind of financial ask the group is making.
Those details will mean the difference between councillors backing the project or backing away.
“You know, there are some that are like, ‘you're gonna really have to convince me to go down the stadium route,’” Mancini said. “There are many, like myself, who would like to see it, and others are really, like, ‘we have to see what the report is, right?’”
The big question is what the group wants from the city in capital funding. Whether it’s cash, tax incentives, or funding through property taxes from commercial development at the site.
Whether the expense would trickle down to taxpayers or other businesses a key issue for some.
“Small business owners don't have the room to support upward pressure on their commercial tax rates,” said Jordi Morgan of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
For others, the idea of giving anything towards a stadium should be left on the sidelines.
“If you can't advocate for health, homelessness, human issues, you shouldn't be advocating for a businessman,” said Gayle Collicutt an anti-poverty advocate.
Regardless of whether or not a stadium happens here at Shannon Park, there is still a plan to develop the property. A stadium could just change what that plan looks like.
The Canada Lands Company (CLC) put in its own residential development proposal to the city two years ago. CLC is the Crown corporation that took over the land after the Department of National Defence vacated in 2003.
CLC says it has agreed to consider amending its plan to include a stadium, but city staff still need that business case first. That means anyone betting on the stadium is now playing the long game.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek.