Schooner Sports clarifying Halifax stadium game plan


The frontman for a bid to bring a community stadium and a Canadian Football League franchise to Halifax is in town this week to clarify his case.

“We’re listening and hearing concerns,” said Anthony LeBlanc, one of three founding members of Schooner Sports and Entertainment (SSE).

“We’re getting feedback as well as clarifying certain points. What we have been doing is working on an updated document to do just that in a written form. There were a couple of points of ambiguity which need to be cleaned up.”

LeBlanc said he hopes to get the latest document out to members of council this week.

Concern and ambiguity led to a regional council vote three weeks ago that had the potential to scuttle the SSE proposal for good. Coun. Sam Austin (Dartmouth Centre) had moved that council rescind an October 2018 motion that directed staff to bring a detailed analysis of the SSE business plan back to council, and instead, abandon the stadium plan outright.

Austin said HRM was being asked to pay to build the stadium, help with the ongoing costs, assume the risks, fix the off-site transportation needs and not own anything in the end. 

The proposal would have SSE borrow money to build the stadium — with the municipality, provincial and/or federal governments providing a guarantee — and have SSE pay back the lender $5 million to $6 million a year over a 30-year period. The company’s proposal included five options for municipal funding, including a plan that would have HRM commit $2 million annually to the lender and SSE repaying $1 million to the municipality each year on ticket fees.

The stadium, land purchase at Shannon Park and other professional fees would run in the range of $130 million, LeBlanc has said in the past. The stadium would have 12,000 permanent seats, 10,575 semi-permanent bleacher and temporary seats and standing room for 2,000.

The Austin motion required the approval of two-thirds of councillors because it was a motion of recission. It failed by a 9-8 vote against.

LeBlanc will meet with a number of councillors over the next couple of days, one of whom will be Austin.