Peter Kelly's stadium dream our nightmare…

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The stadium is dead. Long live the dream. But let’s keep it a dream instead of the reality turning into a taxpayers’ nightmare.

A brief history is in order. Peter Kelly, our in-search-of-a-legacy-to-match-his-longevity mayor, has long been eager to have the city to erect an expensive new stadium, most recently—and urgently—in the faint hope we might somehow complete it in time to host a few FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer matches in 2015.

Keep in mind Kelly previously tried to saddle us with that costly Commonwealth Games white elephant. And still wants us to invest in his convention centre fantasy.

After feasibility studies and consultations, not to forget a pretty-please, deadline extension request for our FIFA bid, council asked staff in December to report on what it would take to build a stadium in time for the World Cup events. Including, of course, identifying who else might be willing to share in its $60 million construction cost.

Oops.

According to the report, staff consulted widely with their provincial counterparts, prepared detailed information packages for all MLAs, met with both opposition leaders and even sat down face to face twice with Premier Darrel Dexter.

In the end, the province decided the city hadn’t presented “a business case… to support a provincial investment.”

The city enlisted Nova Scotia’s federal minister and stadium booster Peter MacKay. But even MacKay’s cabinet clout wasn’t enough to convince his ministerial colleagues to pour federal cash into the project.

Which left the private sector. Last month, the city asked for “expressions of interest” from private developers. Seven made submissions. Only three offered potential “partnership opportunities,” staff reported, and none included “any cash value.”

Logically, staff is now recommending council just say no to building a stadium at this time.

Kelly, who told Metro’s Jennifer Taplin he’s “an eternal optimist,” was disappointed but still hopeful the project could go ahead in “years, not decades.”

The stadium, it’s worth noting, will never pay for itself and will be a continuing operating drain on city taxpayers, regardless of who shares in its capital costs.

So I hope he’s wrong.

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Copyright 2012 Stephen Kimber, Website
  1. Absolutely right on the view of having a stadium in HRM. It will indeed be a drain on City funds and the need is not there for a Stadium without a tenant. People in this part of the country tend to point to places with stadiums in Cities with smaller populations. Green Bay and Regina come to mind. Considering for at least 250 nights a year the Metro Centre in dark what indeed would 25000 seats sitting empty for 340 days a year prove ? It would prove that we indeed can’t learn the lesson of a Pontiac Michigan with a Silverdome Stadium sitting empty and the State of Michigan in total control of a Bankrupt city of 55,000 people. The Silverdome complete with 175 acres of parking lot was sold to a Toronto developer for 550,000 dollars or less then one percent of 1974 construction costs. Green Bay and Regina didn’t have their cities build stadiums for and egotistically pyramid build as a legacy to a city government. Green Bay especially was built on the people who volunteered to buy shares that in December of 2011 amounted to 200 million dollars in the latest shock offering. Green Bay also has a city neighboring it that has 1.7 million people the distance of New Glasgow to the HRM away .

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