Halifax still waiting on business plan from company behind CFL bid

Halifax still waiting on business plan from company behind CFL bid
It has been several months since the official name of a potential CFL expansion team on the east coast was unveiled, but there are still many unanswered questions in the quest to construct a stadium for the Atlantic Schooners.

“I think the problem with the ownership here is they don’t seem to have all their ducks in a row,” said Moshe Lander, a Concordia University professor with expertise in sports economics.

“They have a name for a team, they seem to be racing ahead with trying to build a fanbase but they still haven’t done the basic groundwork, which is secure a site for a stadium, come up with a construction plan.”

Schooners Sports and Entertainment (SSE), formerly the Maritime Football Limited Partnership, is the group attempting to bring a CFL team to Halifax.

The company has recently partnered with Summa Strategies, an Ottawa-based consulting firm that has registered three consultants to lobby the federal government on its behalf.

When asked about what SSE hoped to achieve with the lobbying, Anthony LeBlanc, a founding partner of the company, said that “the registrations should speak for themselves.”

David Wallace, a member of the Halifax-based law firm McInnes Cooper, has also registered to lobby on behalf of SSE to the federal government.

“We do continue to engage with all levels of government, as well as local and provincial community sports organizations, with a goal of bringing a community stadium and CFL franchise to the Atlantic Canada region,” Wallace said on Tuesday.

But Lander feels gaining any sort of financial support from the government to fund a sports stadium is a “slippery slope.”

“The moment that the federal government gets involved in stadium construction, at what point are we going to see the Montreal Alouettes, the Toronto Argonauts, the Calgary Stampeders start to say, ‘Well, if you’re going to put money into a Halifax stadium, why can’t we have it, too? ” Lander said.

The Nova Scotia Premier’s Office wasn’t alerted to new efforts by the ownership group to lobby the federal government.

“So far, the province has not received an official ask from the group. The premier was not aware that the group was in the process of lobbying the federal government for support,” said Laurel Munroe, director of communications for the Nova Scotia Premier’s Office.

According to Munroe, Premier Stephen McNeil won’t be using general provincial revenue to help fund the stadium.

The municipality is also waiting for the ownership group to present a business plan.

“We’re here waiting for a formal proposal from the proponent. What we understand is coming is going to be something that would look at a stadium and a commercial district somewhere in the municipality,” said Brendan Elliott, a senior communications advisor with the Halifax Regional Municipality.
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