Nova Scotia

Dexter won't support Halifax stadium

Some Halifax councillors say the premier's stand on a proposed stadium means the city should rethink its decision to do a $300,000 study of the idea.

Some Halifax councillors say Premier Darrell Dexter's lukewarm response to a proposed stadium means the city should rethink its decision to pay for a $275,000 study of the idea.

The city spent almost $100,000 on a phase one report on the stadium and this week voted to spend $275,000 on a phase two report.

Halifax would need a stadium to make good on its bid to co-host Canada's 2015 FIFA women's world cup of soccer.

The stadium would likely need funding from all three levels of government, but Dexter said the province can't commit to it.

"We are not in a position at this point to jump in on the front end and it may be at some time in the future we may be able to re-assess that," Dexter said Thursday.

"If it is in the out years, and the economy's better, and we have more money, then more things become possible. But not right now."

He said the province's focus right now is in the Lower Churchill hydro-electric project, the potential for a new downtown convention centre, and Halifax's shipbuilding  bid.

Call for another stadium vote

Halifax regional council has already had two weeks of debate about the stadium. On Tuesday, council agreed to press ahead with a detailed study of a stadium that could seat 15,000 people.

But some councillors want another vote next week in light of Dexter's comments.

Coun. Reg Rankin has argued against the project.

"What would be the compelling case to process now, when we don't have our major partners of the province willing to look at it at this time?" he asked.

Coun. Gloria McClusky agreed. She thinks council should have another vote.

"It might be a very good idea to have a sober second thought on that, I guess," she said.

But Coun. Darren Fisher thinks even if a stadium can't be built in time for the world cup, any information gathered will be useful in the future.

"If we are ever going to build a stadium we need to have a complete set of studies and plans, regardless," said Fisher.

Unless regional council changes its mind, the stadium study should be ready in December. That's when Canada will select its six host cities from the seven candidates.

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