Nova Scotia

CFL stadium talks in Halifax likely to continue

A vote on a motion to end talks on a proposed stadium has been postponed until Oct. 22. At least seven Halifax Regional Municipality councillors have said they won't support the motion, which would mean the motion won't pass.

Vote on motion to end talks on a proposed stadium postponed until Oct. 22

A rendering of a proposed stadium for the Shannon Park area of Dartmouth, N.S., was presented by Schooners Sports & Entertainment founding partner Anthony LeBlanc on March 31, 2019. (CFL.ca)

A planned Halifax regional council vote on whether to end a staff review of a proposed CFL stadium in Dartmouth, N.S., has been postponed.

Councillors were expected to vote Tuesday on the motion to halt the review of the proposed Shannon Park stadium, but Coun. Sam Austin put off the debate and vote until Oct. 22 so Coun. Russell Walker, who was absent due to a family emergency, could attend.

At least seven councillors have said they won't support the motion, which would mean it wouldn't pass.

The $110-million stadium proposed by Schooners Sports and Entertainment for Shannon Park included different ways the municipality could fund the stadium and community sports complex, including taxpayers paying $20 million upfront, a $2 million annual contribution or a request to guarantee all the private company's loans.

Coun. Sam Austin needs two-thirds of council to support his motion.

The seven councillors who told CBC News they plan to vote against the measure are Steve Streatch, David Hendsbee, Tony Mancini, Russell Walker, Matt Whitman, Steve Adams and Lisa Blackburn.

Some of those councillors said they don't want to bail on any stadium analysis because they fear it would send the wrong message to anyone else who may want to partner with the municipality on a major project in the future.

Coun. Tony Mancini says he plans to vote against Coun. Sam Austin's motion, but it doesn't mean he's for or against a stadium. (Elizabeth Chiu/CBC)

Mancini said he believes "council owes it to all citizens to make a proper, wise and informed decision on the recommendation of HRM staff.

"Let me be clear, I am not saying we should move forward on a stadium. I am saying we should do our due diligence and allow staff to complete their work and come back to council with their report and recommendations in the new year."

Why Austin introduced the motion

Austin said he's read the proposal and concluded it wouldn't be a good deal for the municipality.

"There was that sinking feeling in my stomach when I submitted the motion on Thursday because it certainly is taking a stand," he said.

"But it is something that I think we're on the wrong path on this and it's my duty when I see something like that to put something forward and then have the discussion at council."

Austin said the cost of "just drifting on until the staff report comes back" is not free.

"Our CEO has indicated six months of detailed analysis into this proposal, so now that we know the broad strokes of the proposal, we need to have a sort of check in to say is this work that we should be focusing on at this time?" he said.

With files from Preston Mulligan

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