A quick update on the CFL stadium discussion

A quick update on the CFL stadium discussion. I will vote for a staff report, because there are options that may be worth exploring and we are not committed to anything, and this means future discussions are public.

Under no circumstance is HRM considering building and operating a stadium, but we are being asked to help pay for it if it happens. What form that support could be is still an open question.

My support for a possible stadium proposal is limited to “can the proponents build a stadium for the same contribution by HRM as the cost to build a community stadium we have hazy plans to build ourselves?” If so, sign a community access plan, and $20-35 mil is the range of support. I assume other orders of government would pay in too.

I am not really excited about “getting creative” to pay for it. I am not interested in tax increment financing (TIF) at all. After Nova Centre no one is interested in open ended deals. I am not at all interested in these “tax negative” proposals that will consume all the demand in our property market for a decade or two.

Any proposal to grab property taxes from newly enabled development is problematic, as I don’t believe this will really “create new value” rather it would capture development demand that would have been built (and taxed) elsewhere in HRM.  There is a limited amount of development demand, and if it all goes to an area around a stadium we would see a slowdown in the rest of the market.

That said, the stadium itself would be tax free (no sports, entertainment or arts space pays property tax).

I think it is more straightforward to consider paying for community access and participation an allow intensification of use around a stadium. I think taxpayers would prefer HRM Council to say “this is going to cost us $35 million, payed over 2-3-4 years”.  I also think it has to be around what we were planning on spending in the long run anyway.

Given stadium economics, not sure how private can bridge the remaining $150-175 million even with provincial participation. I blogged about this 10 years ago.