No World Cup for Halifax as stadium shelved
Halifax regional council has voted to withdraw its bid as a host city for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup soccer event, ruling the stadium project too expensive to pay for on its own.
The council members voted unanimously on Tuesday afternoon to withdraw its bid to host the event. In a separate vote, they decided 22-1 to temporarily shelve the stadium project.
A feasibility report released last week recommended the city not proceed with the building of a stadium, in large part because the city didn't get the necessary funding — estimated between $54.8 million and $71.1 million.
The Halifax Regional Municipality had committed $20 million toward the cost, but the provincial government had not committed to the project.
Coun. Darren Fisher, a member of the stadium advisory committee, refuted claims that the provincial government had not received a thorough business case for the stadium.
"They got all the information the requested. They got all the information that they needed. They got everything that we got," he told reporters on Tuesday.
"They received all the information that they needed to make an informed decision and they just chose not to support it. That's fine, that's their prerogative."
The Canadian Soccer Association had set a deadline of March 31 for Halifax to let the organization know if they could afford to host one of the World Cup games.
That deadline was the result of a three-month extension granted in December.
The association said in a statement that it was disappointed to hear about council's decision.
"We certainly hope that in the future, the City of Halifax will construct a major facility suitable for the sport of soccer where the Canadian Soccer Association will be able to host major international friendly matches," said the Canadian Soccer Association.
Fisher said if the provincial government had committed to project, that may have spurred the corporate community to lend their support.
"I think if the province had stepped forward, I think that everything would have fallen into place and that the feds would've fallen into place and then the corporate world would come knocking," he said.
"A lot of people don't get naming rights for projects until the projects are confirmed so without a project to be confirmed, I wouldn't expect the community, the corporate community to jump all over it."
But Halifax regional council didn't abandon the stadium dream altogether — they voted 17-6 to continue discussions with the federal government on whether Shannon Park could be a site for a future stadium or other sports arena.
The land is owned by the Department of National Defence.