Mayor feels 2020 timeline ‘very aggressive’ for CFL team in Halifax

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage believes the 2020 season is too soon for a CFL stadium to be built if the Atlantic region does proceed in getting a franchise and the undertaking of such a building.

“My sense is 2020 is very aggressive. I don’t think we’re going to have a stadium by 2020 under any circumstances. 2020, I don’t see that as a possibility,” Savage said on NEWS 95.7’s The Rick Howe Show.

The Maritime Football Limited group led by Anthony LeBlanc, Bruce Bowser and Gary Drummond are putting a stadium plan together and have narrowed the location to two spots.

“This is a private sector-led proposal. They’re under no obligation to disclose confidential information,” Savage said. 

“We’ve been encouraging the consortium – which I think is a good one – that as soon as we can, we need to get some idea out to the public of where they want to put this, what it’s going to cost, what the city’s role would be, what the province’s role might be, what the private sector role might be.”

Savage admitted he’s heard 200 million dollars is the number, but wondered if a stadium could be built for 150 or 140 million depending on the sacrifices that would have to be made.

“Clearly the municipality and the province would have to pay for this is in some way, but there’s also different ways that we can look at it,” Savage said.

“There aren’t that many cities of our size certainly in Canada that don’t have a facility that can host large sporting events, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to have it.”

The Halifax Mayor did share his view on where the best spot for a stadium.

“Where’s the best place for a stadium, in my view? Shannon Park,” Savage said.

“It’s on the water, it’s beautiful. But as the mayor and as the guardian of the public good here, my favourite location for a stadium is wherever the people who are prepared to make it happen decide that they want to put it.”

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23 Comments on Mayor feels 2020 timeline ‘very aggressive’ for CFL team in Halifax

  1. Jim Mullin // July 12, 2018 at 1:00 pm // Reply

    Cue the Maritime heel dragging.

  2. 2020 might be aggressive for a new stadium in Halifax, but the Maritime franchise could potentially start in 2020 by playing out of the existing facility in Moncton, with some expanded seating. This could be a win-win, giving time for the Halifax stadium to be build and also building the regional brand of the new franchise

    • Billinburlington // July 12, 2018 at 1:54 pm // Reply

      I was thinking the same thing. They could consider playing a season or two. Perhaps be based in Moncton with a few “home” games in Quebec City, London Ontario etc. .. although this would be difficult to coordinate.

      Bottom line is that there may be benefits to establishing the team in a temporary home before the stadium gets completed.

    • The Mayor said “I don’t think we’re going to have a stadium by 2020 under any circumstances.”
      What he really means is “I don’t think we are going to have a stadium at all…………”
      It’s a private deal and taxpayers are NOT going to fund it.

    • Good point. I agree. And Moncton would likely be the long term site of the training camp, like Saskatoon is for the Riders.

  3. Sixbeamers // July 12, 2018 at 1:23 pm // Reply

    Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have the highest percentage of seniors in Canada. So things move a little slower Down East. Coupled with latent conservatism, one can see why there would be foot-dragging on a multi-million dollar project that will require some as yet unknown amount of taxpayer involvement.
    The Maritime Professional Football Club Ltd. (Atlantic Schooners) was granted a conditional expansion franchise by the CFL in 1982. That was 36 years ago.
    See what I mean? Things take time in the Maritimes.

    • The highest number of seniors? you are right.
      Young people move out west. The fan base will be like Toronto 10,000 seniors and a couple of thousand younger people.

      Let’s hope the HRM turns this thing down and we put an end to this expansion nonsense.

  4. The most interesting and exciting part of Rick Howe’s open hour show today July 12/2018 at 10 am, was SPYDER’S call at 20:48 minute on the 95.7 news radio site in Halifax. When SPYDER called in and launched a brief peak preview of his…..

    SPYDER’S Proposed New
    CFL Red-Zone Rule
    Which you will hear a lot more about soon!

    PS. It’s a must podcast playback, simply go to the 95.7 news site and click on the Rick Howe show, and go to the open hour 10 am part and at the 20:48 minute to hear SPYDER. It’s a great listen and there is a lot more to come!

  5. How is this a story? Its mid 2018, it goes without saying that they would not be able to have a stadium ready in a year and a half. Heck it took over 3 years to build the one in Regina

  6. No kidding!!
    2020 is too aggressive for a lot of reasons. Stadium just being the biggest. Lets shoot for 2022-2025 people. There is a lot to consider!

  7. They’ve said they’re going to build a 10000-15000 seat stadium anyway for community use. So at least 25-35 million is going into it.

  8. Always some lame excuse if they build right away they save$$ if they wait costs rise
    Lots of Jobs will be created for short term and long term
    Not even involving the on field game

    • Sixbeamers // July 12, 2018 at 7:56 pm // Reply

      Lots of jobs created for the long term? How so? The stadium is being built for just 10 CFL home games (counting preseason). Those will be seasonal, part-time jobs, for teens and seniors, mostly. As a job-creating engine, a stadium doesn’t do an awful lot to boost the local economy. What Halifax must figure out is whether the investment is worth pursuing for events beyond just the very limited football season — outdoor concerts, college and high school football games, semi-pro soccer, etc. Is there a need in the city beyond just the CFL? Has the makings of a white elephant if the sole aim is strictly a stadium for football.

  9. If you don’t set a target like 2020 then all of a sudden a stadium isn’t built until 2025.

    Remember they aren’t building a 33K+ stadium like on the prairies they are building something similiar to the hammer and Ottawa.
    Also for timelines pretty sure the construction season in Halifax is longer then in Winnipeg or Regina in terms of outside work.
    I went to the maritimes end of Feb(’17), several feet of snow and -20C on the prairies, barely any snow and positive temperature in Halifax.

    Those two factors mean 2 years is possible, Timbits field in Hamilton took under 2 years from shovels in the ground to game 1. Timmies also cost under 150M just a couple years ago.

    Although IF shovels hit the ground in 2018 it would be best to plan for Moncton and hope for Halifax.

    • Sixbeamers // July 12, 2018 at 8:23 pm // Reply

      Making any comparison between Tim Hortons Field and a proposed Halifax stadium is a real stretch. The impetus to construct THF was the 2015 Pan-American Games, where it was used as a venue for soccer. Because of its international games status, THF received $69 million in funding from the federal government, $22 million from the province of Ontario and $54 million from the city of Hamilton. That won’t be the case in Halifax. The feds won’t be forking over $69 million, just so the CFL can have a 10th team. That’s why the private consortium behind the Halifax project will have to do a lot of number-crunching to see if there’s a real estate/retail component play that can make sense, financially, before any shovels hit the ground. This could take years to come to fruition, if it ever does.

      • I think they’ve already crunched those numbers. I think we’re past that stage and they’re now moving to try to get this done.

  10. THF and Halifax stadium for how it was funded yes, Halifax won’t get near the same level of public $$.

    For construction time frame, size and total cost they are very viable comparisons, much more viable then any other stadium.
    The prairie stadiums are much bigger, fancy and the TD in Ottawa was a semi renovation, where Timmies was built from the ground up and is the same size, I don’t think they kept anything from the old Ivor Wynn.

  11. Hopefully that whenever the stadium is built that it is done the RIGHT WAY with a top notch builder – not the Hamilton or Winnipeg construction companies. The Riders guy would be a good start to check out.

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