Halifax should have its own CFL-style stadium and discussions should take place this year if it wants to it, the mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality said Monday.
Mike Savage met Monday morning with Mark Cohon, the commissioner of the Canadian Football League, but declined to reveal timelines or the degree of corporate interest for such a project.
Savage said the talks are still exploratory but a stadium that could host a CFL team would have wider benefits for the municipality.
"We should have a stadium. A city our size, the centre of the Atlantic provinces in so many different ways, we should have a stadium," he said.
"At the very least, we owe it to the people to have that conversation and if the CFL is part of that, that's fabulous."
Cohon said the league has seen $2 billion worth of stadiums in the last few years. The Ottawa model could work in Halifax, he said, but stressed the discussions that led to that team's rebirth took seven years to come to fruition.
"There's a half-a-billion dollar project. That project is a mixed-used facility, 350,000 square feet of retail, condos, office buildings, park lands and a stadium," Cohon said.
"Those are the types of conversations we're having with the mayor and business leaders."
Cohon also declined to name any of the national or local business leaders that he and the mayor are talking to.
Halifax and Moncton have long been discussed as potential homes for a new CFL team, but nothing has moved beyond the talking stage. Still, Cohon suggested Halifax is a logical location for a future franchise because the Moncton market is probably too small to support a team.
"This is the year we have to have the conversation," Savage said.