[HALIFAX, NS] — Dreams of building a stadium in the near future and hosting a FIFA event are all but dead in the water.
Council will vote on the matter on Tuesday, but many councillors have stated emphatically: no partners, no $60-million stadium.
“It’s a personal disappointment that it was an element that was not able to be completed, but it’s more of a municipal disappointment that we aren’t able to garner this needed piece of sport infrastructure,” said Mayor Peter Kelly, who will leave the stadium issue as a loose end when he steps down from the mayor’s chair in the fall.
He said it’s still not a matter of if, but when, because Halifax needs a stadium as the region’s biggest city. The report said HRM representatives met with the premier, interested MLAs, and all party leaders. The official response: “A business case for the stadium had not been prepared in a manner to support a provincial investment.”
There were meetings with federal ministers of ACOA and sport, as well as support from Defence Minister Peter MacKay. But the federal departments said they would not partner at this time. A request for private partnerships was issued and seven corporations replied, but none of them offered cash for construction.
Staff suggest shelving the $275,000 stadium analysis for future consideration in the capital plan, but moving ahead in the meantime with the possible purchase of the Shannon Park Lands. It’s owned by the Department of National Defence but will soon be disposed of as surplus property to the Canada Lands Company. Kelly said the 33-hectare site would be perfect for a “campus concept” that would include a stadium as well as a quadplex. It would be an enormous asset for that part of Dartmouth, Kelly said.
“Being an eternal optimist, I would hope it’s within years not decades,” Kelly said.