Nova Scotia

Molson Coors oval sponsorship goes back to council

Some skaters are fighting a recent decision by Halifax regional council to ban advertising by Molson Coors at the oval.
Skaters enjoy the oval on the Halifax Common last winter. (CBC)

A motion to reconsider the rejection of an offer of $400,000 from Molson Coors beer company is on Halifax regional council's agenda for Tuesday night.

The decision was made behind closed doors and the new motion will have council make the decision publicly.

Joachim Stroink, a local business owner and a member of the Save the Oval Association, said they reached out to thousands of supporters to get the offer from Molson Coors back on the table.

"I think that losing out on the sponsorship for the oval is going to make our life harder to try to create a facility within the public that is not going to be a tax burden on the city," he said.

Last week, council rejected the financial sponsorship from Molson Coors. The offer was tied to naming rights — not for the oval itself, but a plaza for food and entertainment beside it.

There is concern that beer signs could promote underage drinking.

"You're setting a precedent that now council can control what we are exposed to as citizens," Stroink said. "So, as a parent, it's my responsibility to educate my children on alcohol, not council's."

Some people say skating and suds shouldn't mix.

"If they would give the money and not put their logo up, it would be very helpful," MacKay Murray said.

Others are happy to let Molson pick up the tab.

"I think it's fine if they name it after a beer company," Erica MacDonald said.

Stroink said the secrecy of the decision is adding to the controversy.

"It's not just the oval that's the issue here," he said. "It's the whole game of how things are run within HRM."

Others agree with him.

"I just in general believe in transparency and I think the public should know how this is happening and how they're making decisions," Jen Morris said.

Some councillors said there's more to this debate than alcohol. A few said they voted against the sponsorship because Molson Coors wanted the naming rights for too long, based on the amount of money being offered.

The skating oval is expected to be ready by Christmas.