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Motion coming before Halifax council would ‘effectively kill’ proposed CFL stadium

Click to play video: 'Motion coming before Halifax council would ‘effectively kill’ proposed CFL stadium' Motion coming before Halifax council would ‘effectively kill’ proposed CFL stadium
A Halifax regional councilor is drawing a line in the sand on the proposed CFL stadium. Alicia Draus has more – Oct 5, 2019

A member of Halifax Regional Council will ask his fellow councillors to “clearly decide” whether they want to move forward with a proposed multi-use stadium in Shannon Park.

Sam Austin, councillor for Dartmouth Centre, is asking that Halifax Regional Council rescind its motion asking staff to provide a detailed analysis of the $110-million, 24,000-seat stadium proposed by Schooners Sports and Entertainment (SSE).

The motion would also direct staff to “take no further action” on the proposal — with Austin telling Global News on Friday that it would “effectively kill” the stadium.

“(The stadium) was never one of my main priorities,” he said, adding the proposal presented to the municipality was reliant on the stadium being publicly driven rather than being privately supported.

READ MORE: Halifax stadium proposal neglects transportation considerations

Austin’s motion is set to be debated at the meeting of Halifax Regional Council set for Oct. 8 and will require the support of two-thirds of council to pass.

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“It will take considerable staff time to complete a detailed analysis of the proposal,” writes Austin in his request for council’s consideration.

“Now that the broad outline of what’s being asked is known, Council should clearly decide whether we want to commit the time and resources to advancing the analysis.”

Before the stadium could proceed, Halifax staff would’ve had to provide council with evaluations on the need, cost-benefit, risk, economic impact, partnership opportunities and current cost estimates of the project.

WATCH: The City of Halifax has released some details on the proposal to bring a CFL team to Halifax and build a multi-million dollar stadium in Shannon Park.
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CFL group seeks public funding for Halifax stadium – Sep 26, 2019

The staff report was expected to be presented in late winter or early spring. If Austin’s motion were to pass, it would end the review and kill the proposal.

The request for council to reconsider its previous decision comes after the proposal by SSE was made public last week.

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The proposal by SSE 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 says that some or all the funds needed to build the stadium would be generated from a tax incremental financing (TIF) model — a model that has been used to great effect in Ottawa and Edmonton.

Moshe Lander, an economics professor at Concordia University in Montreal, told Global News last week that the idea of the model is basically to get public funding.

“It’s a model that a lot of sports franchises do (where public funding is given from) a portion of any property tax that’s generated by the surrounding development that comes after the stadium is built,” Lander explained.

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Proposed Halifax stadium’s funding model raising concerns – Sep 30, 2019

Currently, there are no houses or restaurants in Shannon Park, but SSE sees the potential for a commercial district being created once the stadium gets built.

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Parking at the location would also be limited under SSE’s proposal. Only 361 general parking spots with an additional 58 spots for VIP are included in the proposal.

But it estimates about 10,000 people will attend games by taking public transit. Ahsan Habib, an associate professor with Dalhousie’s school of planning, told Global News earlier this week that the municipality’s current infrastructure is not prepared to accommodate high volumes of traffic at one time.

A transit system would need to be established in the area to accommodate the increase in traffic.

According to the proposal, the CFL has guaranteed that SSE will host at least one Grey Cup in the team’s first 10 years of existence.

“The economic and social impact that a Grey Cup would have on HRM and Atlantic Canada is immense,” the proposal stated.

READ MORE: Slow sales lead to slashed prices for Touchdown Atlantic game in Moncton

Austin said that he expects some pushback from the public as well as fellow councillors due to his proposal.

“Some of my colleagues will probably see this as premature,” he said.

Halifax Regional Council is set to convene at 1 p.m. on Oct. 8.

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With files from Alicia Draus, Aya Al-Hakim

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