HRM looking for private partners on stadium project

Staff ~ The Burnside News
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HRM has issued a call for Expressions of Interest in partnership opportunities for...

An early concept for the proposed stadium, which may be located in or near Burnside if the project moves ahead. (File photo)

HRM has issued a call for Expressions of Interest in partnership opportunities for a proposed multi-use stadium. Regional Council has committed up to $20 million toward the construction of the proposed facility, and on December 6, 2011, directed staff to move forward to confirm partnership funding sources and begin negotiations with property owners for a site. This information will allow Council to make a final decision on whether to move ahead to build a stadium for the municipality.

Mayor Peter Kelly says the call is part of Council's ongoing due diligence to ensure it has all the information necessary with which to make a timely and responsible decision.

"An exploration of funding sources would not be complete without making sure we had consulted our business community and thoroughly explored every option available," he says.

Kelly says he's in favour of HRM building a new stadium.

"I believe it would become a regional hub for events of various kinds, as well as for community recreation and active living."

Proponents have until February 17, 2012 to make a submission and will be selected based on qualifications, experience, services offered and other relevant considerations. Expressions of interest can range from the simple to the complex and can relate to one or either of the sites under consideration, including the Commodore Drive location and the former quarry next to Dartmouth Crossing.

"Building a Greater Halifax is about being creative, taking advantage of opportunity and working in partnership to leverage our strengths," says Paul Kent, president and CEO of the Greater Halifax Partnership. "This is a chance to engage in something that will help enhance Halifax's attractiveness to others and the experience for those who live here."

"Sport and recreation infrastructure is a good investment for HRM, Nova Scotia and Canada," says Jamie Ferguson, CEO of Sport Nova Scotia. "A multi-purpose stadium in Halifax not only allows us to host more events, it would provide more opportunities for citizens of all ages to take part in sport and enjoy the health, education, justice and economic benefits that go along with that."

If the project is to be completed in time for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, a final decision on whether to proceed needs to be made within the next two to three weeks. If the final decision takes any longer than that and it would take a larger capital investment to complete construction before the event deadline.

A stadium analysis has been underway since February 2011. Two phases of work were approved by Council to provide a detailed vision, preliminary design, possible site, capital costs and funding formula to help determine whether to proceed to develop a stadium.

A citizen-led Stadium Analysis Steering Committee was selected in May 2011 to oversee the process to develop and make recommendations on a potential stadium relative to achieving the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 minimum standards. The Committee's final Phase 2 report was presented to Council in December 2011.

Organizations: FIFA Women, Greater Halifax Partnership, Sport Nova Scotia Stadium Analysis Steering Committee World Cup Canada 2015

Geographic location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

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