Poll shows people in Halifax open to using municipal taxes to pay for CFL stadium

Philip Croucher, StarMetro Halifax

HALIFAX—There is a clear appetite for spending municipal tax dollars to help fund a new outdoor stadium for Halifax.

That’s one of the findings of a new survey conducted exclusively for StarMetro by the polling firm MQO Research.

Between March 26 and April 2, 500 people in HRM were asked the following question: “To what extent, if at all, are you in favour of the Halifax Regional Municipality contributing taxpayers’ dollars, either directly or through tax breaks, to the building of a new outdoor stadium in the municipality.”

In total, 42 per cent of respondents said they were either “very favourable” or “favourable” to the idea. Forty-one per cent said they were either unfavourable or very unfavourable.

Another 15 per cent were neither favourable nor unfavourable, with another 2 per cent unsure.

The most popular of the six possible answers was favourable, at 27 per cent.

“I honestly thought it would be a much lower level of interest,” said Rick Emberley of MQO Research.

“There are a lot of people that want a stadium but don’t agree with the idea of it being funded in part, or in whole, in any measure or ways, with taxpayer money. But let’s face it: In a marketplace of this size, it will never happen without some sort of financial incentive of financial support of government.”

The CFL, and a possible stadium for Halifax, are top-of-mind with an ownership group now established and looking to bring a team here.

League commissioner Randy Ambrosie even wrapped up a 10-city CFL road trip in Halifax in February to talk about a possible expansion and how the league would love to one day be a coast-to-coast entity.

To do that, they would need Halifax.

When you dig into the MQO Research polling numbers more closely, you get a clearer picture of who supports funding a stadium with the help of taxpayer dollars.

Looking at people between the ages of 18 and 54, the very favourable or favourable total reaches 47 per cent. In that same age bracket, 37 per cent say they are unfavourable or very unfavourable to the idea.

For the 55-plus age group, the very favourable or favourable number drops to 33 per cent, and the unfavourable or very unfavourable figure jumps to 48 per cent.

Emberley thinks the low support from the 55-plus group is partly due to them having the impression that private or commercial projects get more than their fair share of government funding.

“The second piece is they are probably the least likely demographic to take advantage of such a facility,” he continued.

There has been plenty of debate within the city over different levels of government supporting large, private-sector projects.

The most notable is the Nova Centre, which includes the Halifax Convention Centre. Last week regional council learned that Halifax was expected to lose millions in the next 10 years on its downtown convention centre.

“Even though the economic impacts of a convention centre might far exceed a stadium over a sports team or two here, the reality is more local people identify with a stadium … compared with never stepping inside a convention centre,” Emberley said.

The poll by MQO Research also asked respondents what size such a stadium should be if built. The runaway winner — at 40 per cent — was between 15,000 and 25,000 seats.

The other options were up to 15,000 seats or more than 25,000 seats. Both those suggestions received less than 15 per cent support.

“I know nothing of the economics to produce a creature like this,” Emberley said.

“But I think the argument would be it’s got to be the right size … and right size means it can’t be built just for a football team. It has to properly accommodate concerts, other sporting events and so on.”

The polling firm also asked about possible stadium locations. Shannon Park was top choice at 27 per cent, followed by Dartmouth Crossing at 22 per cent and Bayers Lake at 14 per cent.

“The Shannon Park thing — not only is it central, it’s also very accessible,” Emberley explained.

“Bayers Lake, it’s a nightmare to get around out there. Imagine what it would be like if you dropped a 20,000-seat stadium out there. You would have to reconfigure the entire road network.”

The sample size of 500 people results in a margin of error, for a population of this size, of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


61 Comments on Poll shows people in Halifax open to using municipal taxes to pay for CFL stadium

  1. Doug Mc Clintock // April 15, 2018 at 5:35 pm //

    It’s nice to hear about interest in the Halifax Schooners ! Keep it alive and it might just become reality ! Where are those deep pocket investors that really love CFL Football ? Is the population big enough in that area.

    • of course they will say it is and they said that about the NHL too….its all about over inflated egos in Nova scotia

    • Comment Awaiting Censorship // April 15, 2018 at 8:43 pm //

      So 58% were NOT in favor of using taxpayer money in a question that was designed to elicit a positive response. What does that tell you? Ask the following question: Should any of your tax dollars be spent to make a stadium for millionaire owners of a CFL franchise? Then 80% will be against it.

      The spin from this columnist is troubling. Obviously the poll company is biased. They were hired to get the best possible result for the scum that want to rape the taxpayers. But a “journalist” should be above helping them.

      • Boon chuck a lucka // April 15, 2018 at 9:39 pm //

        you nailed it…well done

      • The people polled probably have no idea that a 24k stadium would cost over $200 million. The question was not clear at all.
        There are far too many other priorities in the region, roads, bridges, sewage treatment plant.

    • crabdon J // April 15, 2018 at 9:48 pm //

      you answered your own question…14th largest municipality in Canada and the 13th largest metropolitan area.

      there are other issues with parking traffic etc

      there was a study done independently on the negative side but you wont hear about it on this site

  2. Scottsask // April 15, 2018 at 6:45 pm //

    Let’s do it Halifax!

  3. yeah i can only assume the poll was at a tim hortons where the questions were posed to a bunch of half wits who were unemployed and have no sense of fiscal responsibility in their own lives let alone for a province that can not afford to throw money away.

    if you wore Penquin attire with a crosby jersey then you were probably considered an expert on the topic haha

    • Ridersnhabs // April 15, 2018 at 8:04 pm //


    • ken shaw // April 15, 2018 at 9:22 pm //

      Dave A

      what do you expect from a impromptu “Poll” in Halifax?

      most NS people just complain no matter what decision is made just so they can hear the sound of their own voice. they are like rider fans

    • everton Bill // April 15, 2018 at 9:26 pm //

      I heard some crosby wanna be with said attire was taking the poll and offering free coffee if you answered positively yet they still only received 42 % in favor

  4. Will take more than 500 people opinions.

  5. It could be done with a surcharge on the remaining 9 team game day tickets of $1.00 to $2.50 per ticket to support funding for the Halifax stadium and future stadiums

    This has been discussed

    • everton Bill // April 15, 2018 at 9:29 pm //

      wouldnt even cover the daily interest

      nice try Crosby

    • LOL – can you imagine any owner that has been losing money on their CFL team for years having to contribute $40,000 – $60,000 PER GAME towards a Halifax stadium?
      If Halifax wants a stadium then they have to figure out how to finance it privately.
      Looks like the new convention centre is losing a lot of money, office space in the new building is only at 30% rented. Losing $18 Million per year in projected revenue?
      You think that the HRM would approve any money towards a CFL stadium??
      It’s never going to happen

  6. Just saying // April 15, 2018 at 8:07 pm //

    Hahaha 500 people surveyed. Now that’s funny!

  7. Fred's belt // April 15, 2018 at 8:52 pm //

    They could play at the St Mary’s Huskies Stadium. It holds 1100, that seem to be more than enough for the Stampons.

  8. Edward Leslie // April 15, 2018 at 9:07 pm //

    Dave a:
    You gotta soend money to make money.
    Since Halifax doesn’t have a lot of wealthy people or corporate offices, the Government has to play at least a small part to make this happen.
    People tend to think small: “Don’t spend my tax money on a luxury like this.”
    Well, what about the construction jobs this will create? What about the jobs at the stadium this will create? What about the revenue from Football, Soccer and concerts that will be lost, if it’s not buit?
    Time to take a chance and do this, Halifax. Don’t be disuaded by the small minds.

    • Edward,
      you are looking at this with a close mind as a CFL fan and ignoring the plethora of more important uses for our tax dollars as a citizen who pays taxes in NS

      everyone naive person spouts the same bs with jobs created construction blah blah blah…almost every stadium ever built has the city being held hostage at some point…but dont let history change your mind

    • NO – The new convention centre which opened last September at $400 MILLION is losing a lot of money, office space in the new building is only at 30% rented.
      You think that the HRM would approve any money towards a CFL stadium?? and the potential of another huge loss. At least the convention centre was predicted to make money in the long run, a stadium would not get much use at all.
      It’s never going to happen at all with public funds, not even a portion.

      • Jeff This is similar to buying on credit and not caring about the terms/interest/penalties etc

        its a sports stadium what could go wrong lol

  9. BUILD IT and they WILL COME as the old saying goes. Do it like Ottawa and the entire city WINS in a big way as other cities can attest to thru out the CFL and the USA.

    • wow what an incredibility naive post

      most cities attest to a money pit that never goes away yet you paint an incredibly bogus fairytale version..your fairy god mother will grant you three wishes if your good Jim lol

    • everton Bill // April 15, 2018 at 9:32 pm //

      wow quoting from a fictional movie will certainly have you taken seriously here. yes every one wins in fairy tales Jim

    • Boon chuck a lucka // April 15, 2018 at 9:35 pm //

      Hey jim why dont you use your first wish for Johnny Football and then for endless tax dollars to line the rich mans pockets for life

    • WHO would build it?
      The region and the province won’t contribute on cent towards it especially after the $400 MILLION convention centre that is losing money.
      You think that the HRM would approve any money towards a CFL stadium??
      It’s never going to happen

      • Tailgate YYC // April 16, 2018 at 11:40 am //

        Awwwwww Jeff, can’t you be positive for just once?
        Try to look at how they could build the stadium and not just shut it down.
        I bet if it was a proposal for an NFL team you’d be all gaga and giggly over it.

        • Actually no, soccer, just another in the long line of TFC trolls who are so insecure they have to troll CFL websites

  10. Just saying // April 15, 2018 at 9:23 pm //

    . As long as there’s a big enough fan base it will get figured out. Just like in sask where football is king. Best stadium in the league.

    • What does a fan base have to do with funding for a new 24k stadium? the question is using public funds for a CFL stadium.
      It’s not going to happen

  11. Just saying // April 15, 2018 at 9:27 pm //

    But yeah Dave they are a death pit that probably won’t be paid juring my time on earth.

  12. Yes. The CMA for Halifax is almost 450k, which is about 50% bigger than Regina’s main drawing area. The province has close to 1 million people, and they are spread out over a much smaller area than SK’s population. There are 4 university football teams within a 2 hour drive of Halifax. Moncton NB is only 2.5 hours away.

    • In answer to:
      “Is the population big enough in that area?”

    • turnip Truck // April 15, 2018 at 10:03 pm //

      dont forget about future CFL hotbeads in Maine and Rhode Island with populations over one million and the moon which may inhabit future alien CFL fans.

      why not just include a team in PEI because as everyone knows moncton is closer to PEI than Halifax and that doesnt include any polls …yet

    • What is your point? meaningless stats.
      There are 8 MILLION people that live within 100km of BMO stadium, yet less than 14k average for the Argos.
      BMO stadium was 90% financed by a PRIVATE funds from MLSE
      The question is, should public funds be spent to build a stadium in Halifax? some taxpayers said yes but it will NEVER happen.

  13. This is very good news. The demand for a team is high there, but I expected them to be ultra conservative when it came to how to fund it. It looks like the younger generation is evolving in their thinking.

    • Haligoian // April 15, 2018 at 10:05 pm //

      you are basing high demand on what exactly?

      do you speak for everyone

    • You actually think that after spending $400 MILLION for the new Convention Centre that opened last September and only 30% rented and losing money, that this same council would use public funds for at least $200 MILLION for a CFL stadium??

  14. The moron level on this troll is high. I’m guessing this is our mental health patient from Calgary.

    • I saw a direct question poised to you and you called him a troll is this because you cant answer the question RFD. if you just comment here without any knowledge on the subject then just admit

      what do you have against people with disabilities? maybe you should grow up kid

    • if you dont know how a discussion works RFD why are you here?

      history is full of bad deals made by politicians who want your support now to stay in office at any cost and you like many others have the same mentality of wanting what you want as soon as possible

      welcome to Nova Scotia

    • brian johnson // April 16, 2018 at 7:26 pm //

      If someone disagrees with you and your point that’s great and what its all about.

  15. Just saying // April 15, 2018 at 10:32 pm //

    But are they hyped for football like in Regina, and can it be maintained with multiple losing seasons.
    Not sure those questions can be answered till it’s too late?

  16. True Green // April 15, 2018 at 11:32 pm //

    Judging by the minimal or no post here in favour of a stadium and team by local Halifax residents I’m not sure at all that this is a good idea. I’m completely unfamiliar with sport culture in Halifax beyond hockey. Is there enough interest in cfl football? Is soccer big in Halifax? Soccer seams to be the football killer just look at Toronto and BC.

    Lots of negative comments here. Reminds me of SK when we had an NDP government…

    • So, the Argos draw 5x to 10x the TV ratings, but somehow TFC is killing the Argos?? I think the Whitecaps may have a bit bigger fan base, but it’s basically the same scenario. I think you may be a bit of a sucker my friend.

    • Robert Shmigelsky // April 16, 2018 at 10:50 am //

      Soccer has nothing to do with BC’s troubles.

      The Whitecaps wouldn’t be doing so good if they had David Braley as an owner.

      Plus the coaches challenges and the four hour games they were getting because of all the rule changes really hurt the market for CFL football in BC.

  17. Just saying // April 15, 2018 at 11:54 pm //

    I’m all for a Halifax franchise so I hope it works.
    Go Riders !

    • brian johnson // April 16, 2018 at 7:31 pm //

      Nice well said. I’m totally against a team in Halifax or the area. Can’t see how that would help existing teams grow or create value. Just another anchor.
      Just an opinion and a reasonable one.

      • HA1912GCC // April 16, 2018 at 7:39 pm //

        One knock against the CFL is that it is not a truly “national” league because there is no franchise in the Maritimes. We can point out that no major league does (curling? USport?), but that’s beside the point. The CFL admin hopes that a team in every region will attract more advertisers who want to reach coast to coast instead of just regions.

  18. Edward Leslie // April 16, 2018 at 12:35 am //

    How many cities in North America have a metro population in the 500,000 range or more, but have no professional sports teams?
    I can think of three: Bitmingham, Quebec City and Halifax.
    Halifax is getting big bucks from the federal Government, but nobody is suggesting spending it ALL on the stadium.
    The stadium isn’t going to be some $1 billion money pit behemoth like in Atlanta. It’s going to be more along the lines of Tim Horton’s field in Hamilton.
    So $100-150 million, with 25-50% coming from those funds.
    It’s a very doable project that would benefit Halifax and Nova Scotia.

  19. London Kitchener oshawa st catherines and windsor either greatly exceed or are equal to halifax population wise and would all prob support a CFL franchise and also all have deeper pockets.

    so are you suggesting that population is the key decider?

    BTW Halifax is not close to 500 K (390 000) and any long term commitment has many added unforeseen costs..its rather naive just because you are a fan you can support this 100 % no questions asked

    • Yes and look at Toronto with 8 MILLION people that live within 100km of BMO stadium, yet the ARgos less than 14k average crowds and they have over 100 years of tradition.

      • Jeff were living in a numbers world which magically solves all problems…these rich wannabe owners should flip the bill and take the risks and prove they are in it for the long haul…only then should the tax payers contribute.

        this has been going on too long and everytime there is a proposal the schmoes come out in droves…enough with this misappropriation of funds.

        Will Halifax buy my next house for me and assume all the risks?

      • Tailgate YYC // April 16, 2018 at 11:52 am //

        Interest come and go.
        Take a look at some NFL franchises and the movement thru the years and you may understand that interest in teams and sports fluctuate.The Argos problems were created by years of bad ownership. Even in Calgary when the Feteriks owned the Stamps, the attendance dropped dramatically and has barely recovered. I can only imagine where the Stamps would be if they had previous Argo ownership. You do not have to look any deeper than that Jeff.
        Not convinced? Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns, St Louis Rams, LA Rams, San Diego Chargers……Got it Jeff? Have I made my point?

  20. Hey RFD – you make a ridiculous statement that demand for a CFL stadium is high but you call someone a troll.
    You think that young people have evolved in their thinking because some support pubic funding for a CFL stadium….lol
    Do you think the same young people are aware that they just spent $400 MILLION of public funds on a new convention centre? there are far too many other priorities in the region.
    There is no justifiction to spend public money on a CFL stadium that may be used only 9 or 10 ties a year.
    A stadium make zero sense

    • Tailgate YYC // April 16, 2018 at 11:54 am //

      I think you r the troll JeFF……………

      • So does everybody else. Hey mods, why don’t you make a few of these trolls poop their pants and check the IP addresses and see how many of them are the same guy. Anyone with a duplicate gets banned just like they do at their soccer websites.

  21. Just saying // April 16, 2018 at 9:36 am //

    The future team owners have the money, if they want football so bad thy should take on the expense and the high risk of failure. I wish they would as I believe everyone would be in then and I think other than the public cost we all want a team in Halifax!
    Go Riders

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