Regional council asks for staff report on possible CFL stadium
Report could be pivotal for pro football franchise in the area
A staff report looking into building a football stadium in the Halifax area was unanimously approved by regional council Tuesday, despite concerns by some who think the project is impossible without financial backing from the province.
"I support sports, I support tourism, I support people coming into this municipality," said Coun. Steve Craig. "However, I am not willing to become a banker or financier for this particular project."
The push for a stadium comes from Maritime Football Ltd. The private-sector group, which has been getting encouragement from the Canadian Football League, wants to bring a professional franchise to the area.
Coun. Shawn Cleary had more reservations about the project, but he said taking another look at the idea is still the best option.
"I want to make sure that all costs and risks are extremely clear and up front and any contingencies accounted for," Cleary said. "I'm not, I have to admit, real hopeful."
Why it's time to discuss stadium again
But Craig said it's at least time to look at the possibility of a stadium once more.
Regional council had put it on the back burner four years ago. But Craig said what makes this time different is that the municipality wouldn't be trying to secure a stadium on its own.
"What's changed this time is we have a group coming to us who have a conditional hold on a CFL franchise, they are coming to us with a stadium concept, they want to do this fairly quickly," he said. "I think it's about time that we did take a look at the potential here."
During discussions, some councillors wondered if the municipality could legally be allowed to financially support a private operation like a stadium.
Other councillors also expressed skepticism of both the economic spinoffs from a stadium and the potential success of a private-public partnership.
With files from Pam Berman