Nova Scotia premier says the province will not use general revenue to build a CFL stadium in Halifax

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil talks with reporters at the legislature in Halifax on Wednesday, May 31, 2017.
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil talks with reporters at the legislature in Halifax on Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia’s premier made it clear on Thursday that any new sports stadium in the province will have to be built without significant financial backing from the Nova Scotia government.

Stephen McNeil said that taxpayer dollars are off limits to Maritime Football Ltd., the company that is leading the charge to bring a CFL team to Canada’s East Coast.

“Let me be clear, general revenue is not part of our conversation. I am not going to be reaching into general revenue to build a football stadium,” said McNeil, ruling out adding a stadium to the province’s capital budget.

READ MORE: City council set to discuss possible Halifax CFL team at next meeting, say councillors

McNeil said that there has been no formal request from Maritime Football, but said that he did expect one to be coming soon — likely after a meeting of Halifax’s municipal council scheduled for Tuesday.

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As Global News reported earlier this week, the governing body of the Halifax Regional Municipality will be asked on July 17 to give direction to the municipality’s chief administrative officer (CAO) to officially enter into preliminary negotiations with Maritime Football.

Tim Outhit, councillor for Bedford-Wentworth, and Richard Zurawski, councillor for Clayton Park, confirmed the request on their respective Facebook pages, although they added that there are no details on what the company may ask for in terms of support.

However, Outhit did speculate in his post that it will likely involve financial support for the construction of a new stadium with at least 25,000 seats.

“A stadium of this size will cost at least [$200 million],” Outhit wrote in his post.

READ MORE: Company behind push for Halifax CFL team meets privately with city council

McNeil said that he has previously met with representatives of Maritime Football, but has no idea on what a request for support from the province, if any, would look like.

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But he said that if the company is looking for funding from the province’s taxpayers, it should begin looking elsewhere.

“If you have a new idea, a different idea, of how I can help, then feel free to come and ask. But don’t come in and expect I’m going to write you a cheque.”

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