McNeil says he's ready to talk stadium, but private money must be involved

Stephen McNeil is willing to talk support for a stadium in Halifax but Nova Scotia's premier reiterated Monday that a project of that scale would require money from the group pushing the idea.

N.S. premier says his government has yet to receive a proposal from Maritime Football

Shannon Park and Dartmouth, as seen from a cyclone helicopter on July 13, 2018. A private group is pitching the location as the future home of a 24,000-seat stadium. (Carolyn Ray/CBC)

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil is willing to talk support for a stadium in Halifax, but he reiterated Monday that a project of that scale would require money from the group pushing the idea.

Halifax regional council is expected to receive a proposal Tuesday from Maritime Football Ltd., the group trying to bring a CFL team to the city. 

The proposal includes a plan for a 24,000-seat stadium to be built in Shannon Park in Dartmouth at a cost of between $170 million and $190 million, and calls for a variety of financial assistance tools from the city.

So far, there's been no direct ask of the province, but McNeil said he fully expects to receive a proposal from the ownership group. 

'Another revenue source'

McNeil said he stands by his previous statements that the province's general revenue would not be used to help fund a stadium.

However, if a stadium could also be used for university football games and "other economic activities," McNeil said his government is willing to discuss other ways it can lend support.

"In essence, it would have to be another revenue source," he told CBC News.

Private money must be there

The premier said any support from the province would come with the expectation of private money behind the proposal.

"There's no project that's going to come forward that wouldn't have private money in it," he said.

"There's no way to build that kind of infrastructure without it."

McNeil added that he believes Maritime Football "has demonstrated the capacity to be able to bring together a team, a group that could manage and maintain a CFL team."

More than two years ago, a major redevelopment plan for Shannon Park, a former military community, was unveiled following extensive public consultation.

That plan called for residential and commercial development alongside green space and recreational opportunities as a means of community development, but did not include a stadium.

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About the Author

Michael Gorman

Reporter

Michael Gorman is a reporter in Nova Scotia who covers Province House, rural communities, and everything in between. Contact him with story ideas at michael.gorman@cbc.ca