Amid criticism by Halifax Regional Council, the organization attempting to bring a CFL stadium and franchise to Halifax has submitted an amended proposal to the municipality.
Schooners Sports and Entertainment (SSE) says its updated proposal incorporates “public feedback and concerns” around the public risk of building a stadium.
“Our revised proposal takes this feedback into consideration and provides HRM with a community stadium proposal that is unprecedented in North America,” Anthony LeBlanc, founding partner of SSE, touts in a press release.
“In short, this new proposal is the best deal for HRM and, in fact, better than any stadium jurisdiction in North America.”
An attempt to kill the proposed 24,000-seat, $100-million stadium was voted down by Halifax regional council in October.
The proposed venue in Dartmouth’s Shannon Park would be used for football, soccer, rugby, lacrosse and other sports, in partnership with Sport Nova Scotia, when not being used by the CFL.
It would also feature an inflatable dome during the winter months.
Municipal staff have been conducting analysis on SSE’s proposal with negotiation between the municipality and SSE ongoing.
The HRM was not able to confirm on Thursday that they’ve received the amended proposal.
The largest change in the new proposal is a commitment that SSE will contribute “tens of millions of dollars directly” to the construction of the stadium.
The organization will fund “all ongoing capital expenses” rather than the costs being split between SSE and the municipality. The cost for capital expenses are expected to be $465,000 per year.
SSE has amended their promise to cover all operational expenses — projected in the original proposal as between $3-million and $4-million — to add that they will repay the HRM’s annual contribution in full, while HRM will share in “excess surcharge profits.”
The document does not provide what that share of the profits, “forecasted to be hundreds of thousands” of dollars, will be.
There appears to be no change on the proposed funding models for the stadium. SSE only clarifies that a tax incremental financing (TIF) district around the stadium, if adopted, would be set by the municipality.
“If the TIF district is delayed or is never created, HRM will not be left on the hook, thanks to the implementation of the ticket surcharge to cover any TIF shortages, if any,” reads the press release.
The organization also says that HRM will have the final say on who will own the stadium, a minor change from the original proposal that had a separate entity own, operate and manage the stadium.
SSE’s amended proposal also mentions a number of additional initiatives that are not directly related to the stadium.
The organization says it will reward student achievement in the province by “donating hundreds of tickets to each home game for qualifying successful students.”
SSE will also create a charitable foundation that will raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to support programs that reduce barriers to fair and accessible sport and recreation opportunities.
Only time will tell if councillors are persuaded by the amended proposal. A recommendation will come in front of council in December.