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Plans released for Schooners stadium

The City of Halifax has lifted the lid on a proposal valued at up to C$110m (£67.3m/€75.9m/$83m) to develop a new stadium to house an expansion team, entitled the Atlantic Schooners, in the Canadian Football League (CFL).

The latest move comes after the City in October unanimously voted in favour of pursuing the development of a 24,000-seat multi-purpose stadium to bring the league to the provincial capital of Nova Scotia.

The project has moved forward since then. A full proposal for a site-specific development that includes a stadium and a commercial district was first received by the municipality from Schooners Sport & Entertainment (SSE) on August 30.

In the interest of transparency, the municipality sought approval from SSE, to release the proposal publicly, which it has granted with the exception of five appendices containing information that is the property of a third party. SSE is seeking to develop the stadium, along with surrounding residential and commercial property, in Shannon Park on the east side of Halifax harbour by 2022.

The proposal states SSE will seek a 30-year loan from a commercial finance company for the construction and to acquire the land, but will require government help to cover loan payments of up to C$6m per year. SSE is seeking that the province increase its hotel levy from two to four per cent and create a car rental levy that would generate between C$3m to C$4m per year. It is also seeking a municipal contribution of between 15 and 20 per cent of the cost.

While stating that the proposal still needs to be assessed by municipal staff, Mayor Mike Savage told Canadian broadcaster CBC: “There’s a lot of people who want a stadium with any cost. There’s a lot of people that don’t want a stadium at any cost. I say if we can have a stadium with the right cost, it’s worth looking at. We have to analyse that.

“We spent C$40m-C$50m on rinks. We spent over C$30m refurbishing the Dartmouth Sportsplex. And these are good investments. The stadium may or may not be another one like that.”

However, Savage voiced his opposition with regards additional hotel and car rental levies. He added: “I don’t think that that is a revenue that has no impact because it does have an impact on business here. You can’t say this doesn’t affect the current taxpayer. Nothing is for free.”