Nova Scotia

New report supports Halifax stadium

Mayor Peter Kelly made it clear Friday he's firmly behind a new report that said Halifax could use a new multi-purpose stadium.

Mayor Peter Kelly made it clear Friday he's firmly behind a new report that said Halifax could use a new multi-purpose stadium.

The report, released Friday, said the city could use a stadium with 10,000 permanent seats with the capacity to seat another 10,000.

Canada is hosting the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. To qualify as one of the six host cities, Halifax needs a stadium that can seat at least 20,000 people.

"I think it's a very positive step in moving forward with the positive recommendation on going to phase two," said Kelly. "We've said many times before, it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when."

Halifax is the only Canadian city bidding to host the World Cup that doesn't have a stadium.

The long-awaited feasibility study said after the World Cup the stadium field would get a lot of use from community groups, and would allow Halifax to bid for national sporting events ranging from the Vanier Cup to national soccer, field hockey and World Lacrosse championships.

"It'll help sustain us for opportunities for the future, for events and anything that we can find the partnerships for, whether for the World FIFA, or dealing with rugby or any other sport that could find use for the stadium, but other events as well," said Kelly.

A committee of councillors and private citizens was asked to determine if there is a need for a stadium and if Halifax can afford to build and maintain one.

The report said a stadium with 20,000 permanent seats or more wouldn't be the best value for the money.

The committee said it also envisions one major entertainment event every year.

The committee didn't look at the cost of a building a stadium but it said it will need government support to operate it.

The report said it would run a deficit of anywhere from $295,000 to $475,000 a year — but it said a stadium could generate $3.5 million to $5.3 million in economic spin-offs.

The mayor said it will take many different partners for the stadium to work.

Municipal staff recommended moving to the next phase to look at a possible site, detailed design and estimated costs. That work is expected to cost $275,000.

Regional council will consider it on Tuesday. If approved, councillors would get a report on phase two in December.

Kelly said in order to be a part of the World Cup, the stadium is needed soon. He hopes to have construction underway by the end of 2012.