Published on September 2, 2013 2:40 PM by dbo.
Interesting things are a foot in Halifax. Will it lead to labour being used to raise a new stadium on the East coast? Also, a small update on Ottawa and stadium speculation in Toronto.
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage met with CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon in July, starting talks that Halifax is a serious player to become the location for a Atlantic CFL team. The mayor’s leadership on the issue was praised by a local sports reporter.
Meanwhile, Saint Mary’s University opened bids for the refurbishment of Huskies Stadium, including stands, turf and possibly the running track. This obviously raises the question whether private enterprise and local politicians will enter discussions about a shared facility. The Huskies Stadium location is not large enough for a CFL sized stadium, but this opportunity for partnership should not be left to pass. Finding a location close enough to Saint Mary’s for a stadium that can be used by the University for varsity football, soccer, field hockey, other sports and various events may be difficult, but Halifax deserves to try in order to bring together the various areas of funding for a shared facility. Somehow I see the possible synergy here being lost on those in the community and the option not even explored.
A new poll in Halifax shows majority support in the community to bring a CFL team to the city. This result is believed to help counteract the anti-stadium and anti-CFL sentiments that are pushed by an apparent vocal minority. For these reasons, it feels like Halifax may be back as the CFL‘s focus after Ottawa launches in 2014.
In Ottawa, the stadium project is hitting all its dates and is on track to be complete for the Ottawa team to take the field next June.
Following up on Mayor Rob Ford’s comments about Toronto’s need for a football only stadium, an examination of the politics and possibilities are presented. Councillor Stintz’s comments about preferring to make football work at Rogers Centre is naive of the facts. Rogers Centre is not a city owned, public facility. Toronto nor the Argos have no say in the stadium configuration or available dates. That is what happens when you sell a publicly built facility to private interests for 10 cents on the dollar.
Despite this wide-eyed take on the situation, five locations for the Argos to take up residence are considered, with one being the obvious front runner.
If the city is concerned with the cost footing the bill of another facility, they should look at their city owned facility BMO Field. The Argos were politically shut out of development of BMO Field, largely because most politicians didn’t believe the Argos would still be around now. With MLSE managing the stadium and having apparent veto on any changes to the facility and tenants, starting discussions on a working solution here have been impossible.
Councillor Grimes comments about bringing the Argos to the table over renovations to the stadium at Exhibition Place are promising. However, the city must go farther in controlling its facilities and ensure that all possible tenants are accommodated. Politicians must realize the private management does not mean succeeding all control to one commercial interest and that their role is to find compromise in these areas to avoid spending $200 million elsewhere.
I am sure the Argos would jump at the chance to move to BMO Field with the proper concessions to the concerns of MLSE. If stadium renovations/expansion is planned, then this is a perfect time to change the end stands to retractable/moveable seating that can accommodate both sized fields. A solution for the damage to the natural grass can also be found, such as placing an artificial surface over the natural grass field for Argonaut games, similar to the portable indoor turf systems. Other changes, such as expansion, press box or other requirements should be easier to accommodate. While there is a cost to these modifications, they certainly will be cheaper than a new city stadium on new grounds.
Anything involving the construction of a brand new stadium is highly unlikely at this stage.
Not going to happen unless there is a change of leadership at the university, and even then the site may be too crowded now for a proper stadium.
Again, new stadium still a long shot at this time. While Toronto FC have their training facility here, lots of issues with this site.
New stadium and probably the highest remediation cost of all locations make this very unlikely also.
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