There is at least one thing missing from the proposed multi-use stadium in Shannon Park.
The proposal by Schooners Sports and Entertainment includes a number of funding options for the municipality, from an upfront cash payment of 15-20 per cent, to an annual payment of $2 million with the expectation of getting money back through ticket sales.
The proposal includes ways the stadium could be used beyond just for a CFL team and highlights how it could help to grow the area.
It also includes some details on how traffic will flow around the stadium itself — but not in the surrounding area.
“The challenge will be how to get people there, to and from other areas to the stadium,” said Ahsan Habib, an associate professor with Dalhousie’s School of Planning.
“That’s not part of the proposal, but at the same time that’s an important question we should be asking.”
Habib says as the infrastructure stands in it’s current state it is not prepared to accomodate high volumes of traffic at one time. Even just getting off the MacKay bridge could be problematic.
“One is the access road. In general, this has a lot of safety issues itself, with the approach road,” he said.
Parking will also be limited. The proposal includes only 361 general parking spots with an additional 58 spots for VIP, though it estimates about 10,000 people will attend games by taking public transit.
Habib says that’s a fair assumption; that is what happens in most other cities. But for that to work, a transit system would need to be established in the area. Currently only route 51 services the area, and for many areas in HRM, buses will only get you as far as Highfield Terminal which is at least a 20 minute walk away from the site.
“There needs to be more improvement for more direct transit services, express buses or bus rapid transit or other kinds of route alignments,” said Habib.
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He suspects roads would also need to be widened to accommodate more buses in the area. All of this would likely be an additional cost to the municipality that’s not included in the proposal.
Deputy Mayor Tony Mancini is the councillor for the area and says while it could be challenging to improve the transit system within the proposed timeframe for a stadium, the cost is not necessarily a bad thing.”
“For me being the councilor to that area, we have gaps in the transit system throughout the municipality particularly in that are so I would love some increased transit.”
He also notes that regardless of if they move forward with the stadium or not, better transit in the area will still need to be addressed in the future.
“If there’s no stadium and Canada lands moves forward with the last concept plan that we had we still have to have that same conversation of infrastructure. What do we have? Do we put a ferry? Does a bus route go through? Who pays for it?”