Nova Scotia

Premier says taxpayers' dollars won't be used to build CFL stadium

Premier Stephen McNeil made it clear after cabinet Thursday that taxpayers' dollars would not be used to build a CFL stadium in Halifax.

'I’m not reaching into general revenue to build a football stadium'

Premier Stephen McNeil says no formal ask for a stadium has come before the province. (CBC)

Premier Stephen McNeil made it clear after a cabinet meeting on Thursday that taxpayers won't be on the hook for a CFL stadium in Halifax.

"General revenue is not part of our conversation. I'm not reaching into general revenue to build a football stadium," he said.

McNeil said that he and members of his staff have met with proponents who want to move forward on bringing a team to the city.

But he also said there has been no formal ask from Maritime Football Limited, though he expects one will likely come after Halifax regional council meets on Tuesday.

Tim Outhit, councillor for Bedford-Wentworth, wrote on Facebook that he also expects the request on Tuesday.

Outhit has said that a stadium of this size will cost at least $200 million.

Although the stadium venture will be privately led, he said there will likely be a capital request of "somewhere between $50 million and $150 million from the various levels of government."

Outhit admitted that he may be proved wrong, but said he does not think a stadium can be completely privately funded.

Richard Zurawski, councillor for Clayton Park, also confirmed on his Facebook page that there has been no proposal to council.

He said council will be asked to give direction to the chief administrative officer on Tuesday to officially enter into preliminary negotiations with Maritime Football.

McNeil said that instead of a stadium, taxpayer dollars will be put toward building infrastructure, helping provide services to Nova Scotians and growing the economy.

"We have a $15 billion debt that we're dealing with, two thirds of that is operational debt, it is not capital investment," he said.

McNeil said he will wait for the formal ask to discuss how the government might contribute to the stadium, but was clear it wouldn't come from general revenue.

"If you have another option, you have a new idea of how I can help, feel free to come and ask," he said. "But don't come in and expect I'm going to write you a cheque."

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About the Author

Danielle d'Entremont

Reporter/Editor CBC North

Danielle d'Entremont is a reporter and editor for the CBC in Yellowknife.  Most recently she worked as a national news reader for CBC Toronto, but has also worked for CBC Nova Scotia in her hometown of Halifax. When she isn't chasing stories she is on the search for the best hiking trails around town. 

With files from Carolyn Ray