Bid for proposed CFL stadium in Halifax takes intriguing turn

The prospect of a Canadian Football League stadium in Atlantic Canada has taken an intriguing turn.

Halifax council voted unanimously to move ahead with a staff report on the proposed stadium plans, which have been submitted to the municipality. Shannon Park was the chosen location to build a stadium with 12,000 permanent seats expandable to 24,000 for CFL games on a 38-hectare area.

In a document prepared by Halifax Regional Municipality, chief administrative officer Jacques Dube, states: “The CAO and his team do not recommend that regional council provide a one-time contribution for a stadium at that site.”

According to Postmedia reporter Dan Barnes, there are as many as four stadium sites in play in Halifax, but two are viewed as potential frontrunners when or if regional council votes against contributing financially to construction at the Shannon Park site.

However, the report backed the idea a stadium would add valuable infrastructure to the city. Building it with a private partner carrying the majority of risk and cost in a different location could be feasible.

“The CAO is recommending a one-time payment of $20-million upon substantial completion of the stadium.” But the HRM does not recommend the city take ownership or cover ongoing capital or maintenance costs.

Schooner Sports and Entertainment founding partner Anthony LeBlanc welcomes the recommendations from municipal staff.

“We appreciate the due diligence (HRM) staff have exercised in this process and support the considerations raised regarding site selection for this important community project,” LeBlanc said in a statement.

“We look forward to receiving council’s decision on whether to approve this recommendation and we stand ready to work diligently with staff and the community to ensure the success of this game-changing community development.”

Putting a tenth franchise in Halifax has been a cornerstone issue for CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie. Schooner Sports and Entertainment recently amended their proposal in an attempt to get a stadium deal passed and it could be crucial to earning the votes needed when HRM council meets on Tuesday.