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Halifax's mayor and deputy mayor weigh in on CFL stadium debate (update)

Mayor Mike Savage said he has a general sense of the plan but hasn't yet seen any solid numbers
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Halifax City Hall (Meghan Groff/

When council meets next week, it's expected a debate on a proposal to bring a CFL team to the city will be high in the agenda.

A potential stadium appears to be the largest stumbling block, but the man who will chair that meeting says there are still a lot of unknowns.

Mayor Mike Savage told NEWS 95.7's The Rick Howe Show, he has a general sense of the plan but hasn't yet seen any solid numbers.

"This is a private sector-led proposal," he explained. "They're under no obligation to disclose confidential information."

Listen to Rick Howe's conversation with Mayor Mike Savage:

"We've been encouraging the consortium -- which I think is a good one -- that as soon as we can, we need to get some idea out to the public of where they want to put this, what it's going to cost, what the city's role would be, what the province's role might be, what the private sector role might be."

He said Tuesday's discussion will be on whether Halifax should delve deeper into the numbers to see if the plan makes sense for the municipality.

"Clearly the municipality and the province would have to pay for this is some way, but there's also different ways we that could look it it," said Savage.

He thinks some councillors are in favour of putting cash up front as opposed to paying for it over time with property tax revenues.

"There aren't that many cities of our size in Canada that don't have a facility that can host large sporting events, but that doesn't necessarily mean we have to have it."

Halifax's deputy mayor would like to see staff explore whether or not to it makes sense to in some way participate in funding the building of the facility.

"Right now we need our staff to come up with an analysis of the many different options of how the city could participate in paying for it," said Waye Mason. 

He added what Halifax can afford to contribute may not be enough to make it worthwhile for the private operator.

Mason said HRM has a long term plan to possibly build a community stadium that would seat between 10,000 and 15,000 people, and perhaps that could be worked into the new CFL proposal.

"We have a notional amount of money of $20- to 35 million set aside for that, so if we could contribute that to a CFL stadium that somebody else built and operated, and we still had a community access plan so people could use the stadium for recreation needs, then that's something we could consider."

Both Mason and Savage believe a stadium would generate development in whichever part of the city it is potentially located, but that doesn't necessarily equate to having more stores, restaurants and residential buildings.

"A stadium may bring certain development, but it also may move development from somewhere else," said Savage. "That's not a net gain to the municipality."

The mayor added, because HRM wouldn't own the stadium, council wouldn't have any involvement in deciding where it would be built.

"Where's the best place for a stadium in my view? Shannon Park," he stated. 

"It's on the water, it's beautiful ... but as the mayor and as the guardian for the public good here, my favourite location for a stadium is wherever the people who are prepared to make it happen decide that they want to put it."


Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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