Halifax wants a stadium........?


[i]A brand new sports stadium would be the centrepiece of downtown Halifax if readers of The Chronicle Herald were city planners.

We asked for feedback after last Monday’s story on tearing down the massive Cogswell Street interchange. The system of downtown highway overpasses and ramps was built almost 40 years ago to align with a proposed Harbour Drive freeway that was abandoned because of enormous public opposition.

Future structural issues with the interchange, coupled with the city’s desire to remove it and develop the site, will eventually lead to its destruction.

Halifax Regional Municipality plans to hold a series of workshops in the fall on downtown development, especially relating to the Cogswell site, as part of the "HRM By Design" urban design project. But we thought we’d get things jump-started by asking for your opinions.

Dozens of readers sent in their ideas for the prime piece of real estate by e-mail or snail mail. A few thousand more took part in our online readers poll.

The majority were united in their desire to see a new centrepiece sports complex with seating for 25,000 to 40,000 at the Cogswell site. Some readers were so keen, they were ready to sign up teams for the facility.

"A major stadium, capable of being a feature venue for future Commonwealth (Games) attempts, a major hockey venue, the potential to host an NBA team," James Moore wrote.

Robert Paege of San Leandro, Calif., and Gerry Meade of Dartmouth both said a Canadian Football League team could be in the cards if a new downtown sports stadium is built.

"I am suggesting a roof for this facility because let’s make no mistake about it, protection from the elements will be a big factor in the number of fans who turn out for these events," Mr. Meade said. "We do after all live in the northern hemisphere."

Kevin Elliott of Calgary said Halifax, as a "vibrant city of 400,000," should have a great stadium to help attract "world-class events."

"Perhaps one day, the city could host the biggest annual event in Canada — the Grey Cup game — bringing millions into the local economy."

Brett Musgrave is pinning his hopes on the NHL salary cap making an expansion team for Halifax economically viable.

"This would mean lots of revenue for the downtown area," he said.

As for the design of the stadium, Scott Smith of Halifax suggested a good model is already available.

"What about keeping the stadium from the 2014 Commonwealth Games and just moving the location (from Shannon Park)?" he said.

"A stadium is something Halifax needs, and with that (Cogswell) location, it could boost downtown like the Metro Centre does."

Right alongside the sports fans among readers were the culture buffs.

A new performing arts complex would be a nice fit at the site, many readers said.

Such a centre would be a "wonderful draw for Halifax," Helen Jeppesen said, adding that it should be "large enough and nice enough to bring in the big names."

Others feel that putting any large complex downtown — whether for sports, arts or otherwise — would tie up traffic. Dan Samardzic wants the city to go the other way and create pedestrian-friendly streetscapes to entice visitors.

"I can already see the new cafes, shops and street entertainers there," he said. "Hopefully, new buildings in the area will have a little bit of charm and the beauty so present in the Granville Street area."

Another reader also likes the feel of the old buildings there.

"I would recreate as much of the original structures as possible and practical," Tom Parsons said.

He also feels that too much emphasis is put on dollar signs and he recommends steering clear of large entertainment structures.

"Instead, development should focus on good esthetics and quality of life," he said.

A little retail therapy might be in order, too.

J. Morris wishes that services, like a bank and a grocery store like Pete’s Frootique, could be re-established in the downtown for people living in the north end.

Philip MacLean is on the same page. He said commercial development is needed for area residents and for people who don’t have cars.

"I miss the old Woolco at Scotia Square, it was very convenient," he said.

But some people feel that any newfangled idea is wrong.

Almost one-quarter of the 2,434 online voters said the best idea would be to leave the interchange the way it is. A few wrote simply: "More parking."

Not Jo Marchand, who believes the downtown would benefit from the removal of a "concrete jungle that serves no real purpose today."

"I don’t think there is a single other development that would have a more positive effect on our city."

To get involved in future forums and workshops on the downtown, click on www.halifax.ca/capitaldistrict/Regional ... Study.html.[/i]

I like the result, but I don't like how most of the letters of support for the stadium that the paper published were from people outside of Halifax. It's like they're trying to make it look like it's outsiders that want it, not Haligonians.

Yeah! No joke, thats me. :thup:


I’m not sure how much space, but an Asper-esk stadium with 3-4K Parking Stalls surrounding it(270 Degrees) with Retail/office across from the parking in 1 direction(under the same ownership as the stadium)

the other 90 Degrees from the stadium, can be a Green area, Tree’s and such, a small park that leads to the stadium main entrance.

When I head people saying that a stadium will creat traffic problems it really pisses me off. One CFL game every two weeks at night time or Sunday afternoon will not creat traffic problems.
Big fricken deal if it does, its nothing we cant work around anyway.
What a stadium will do instead is creat a much better place for pedestrians. More restaurants, cafe's, and fun places have always been build around stadiums which in turn improves the quality of life.

Just one question for anyone who lives in Halifax.
Why are they tearing down that highway in the first place?
Was it never finished or does no one use it?

It consists of ramps and an overpass which is really an inefficient, poor use of prime city real estate. It's a poorly designed eyesore in the core of the downtown that has really not lived up to its original intention of lowering the area's traffic congestion. With an aging Metro Centre (our hockey stadium) the priority may unfortunately not be on football. I hope I'm wrong though.

Call me from Missouri?
I'll believe it when I see it.
Question: What will happen first, the new stadium or the Leafs winning the Cup?
Answer: Neither.

Gotta agree with you on that one. Heard talk of an NHL and NBA team as well. Just what planet do these people live on? Halifax botched a Commonwealth Games bid, so now we are supposed to believe they will build a stadium without it. All you ever hear out there is talk and no action.

EastVan, the commonwealth Botch was due to more then a new stadium. it was a horrible move to screw up on that because most the costs were upgrades across the city.

But people got tight with Cash even though it needs to be spent to upgrade things like appartments(part of the plan was tear down old appartments for new ones the athletes would stay in then likely would turn into normal appartments for city residents after but no that is a dumb thing to spend on apparently)

A stadium would be good, it might happen who knows.... Fricken Halifax.

Talk is cheap Halifax. Either build the stadium or shut up about it. And if you build a stadium, don't go on the cheap. Like we did here in London.

Here they built a stadium on the Western Campus for the Canada games, and did it on the cheap. The thing is a disgrace and an eyesore.

Cheap aluminum bench seats. Slippery staircases in the winter. Its used for different events, so there are all kinds of lines painted on the field which makes it hard to watch for football.

Concessions are poor. From the ground you can see the maze of pipes under the stands holding the bloody thing up. Overall this monstrosity does nothing to attract fans. In fact it keeps people away.

The only thing they spent a few bucks on was the scoreboard. Unfortunately the end they put it on faces the sun for day games, which makes the scoreboard unreadable. So what they do? They put a tiny miniature scoreboard on wheels at the other end! How cheap is that?

If the idiots running this city would have looked to the future and spent a few more bucks on this stadium, like they did the JOhn Labatts Centre, we might have had a shot at a CFL franchise.

Instead all we get is this aluminum garbage can that is as bare bones as it gets.

So if you people in Halifax want a stadium, quit talking and get out the shovels. And spend a few bucks on it. Becuase you'll make it back in the end!

I never said the bid failed cause of the cost of just building a new stadium. What I meant was that if you cant even pull off a successful Commonwealth Games bid (by successful I mean actually being there for the final selection phase), where plenty of federal money is at hand, I become rather skeptical of the region being able to get their sh*t together to build a stadium by itself. Keep in mind they have been talking a new CFL capable stadium there since the 70's! Its 2007 now and STILL NOTHING.

Wow, I had no idea that stadium was that bad. From your description it sounds like a glorified high school stadium. For what its worth, it looked good on TV. Thats pretty disappointing to hear.

Nice that there is talk in Halifax!

Berezin, I've been to TD Waterhouse and while I agree that they could have made it a bit better, I don't think that there ever was any thinking at the time of London in the CFL. Maybe there should have been but don't think there was. But I agree that they missed out on an opportunity to make it better for sure but there was no new hockey facility at the time so the city probably said lets keep our eggs in that basket which I can understand. As much as I hate to say it, I was born and raised in London, I don't see a CFL team in that city ever, it's all Knights, Knights, Knights and nothing else it seems to me. Too bad though.

theres non-stop talk in halifax and atlantic canada.. we all want the CFL very badly.. theres only so much thousands of raving fans can do, we dont have the millions of dollars, or the downtown property to just build a stadium.. the money is there.. the potential owners are there, the fans are there.. its just the fcking goddamn HRM.. honestly, im gonna go to city hall in halifax and fucking blow up the place. politians on the east coast are so fcking stupid, thats why we never get any respect from anyone, you think they'd smarten up after 150 odd years.

thats the only thing holding back the CFL in atlantic canada.. the idiots who run the city of halifax. a stadium could be built elsewhere in no time.. its just not fesible to build it anywhere else but halifax. if it really came down to it, we could build a 40,000 seater multi-million dollar stadium in moncton.. or even antigonish (we do have a 20,000 seater world-class pro stock car racing facility that hosts NASCAR pre-season races, and busch series races every summer). the want is there.. the potential buyers are there.. the fans are there.. the government is hesitant, and stubborn, thats the only thing holding us back, which pisses me off, and every other CFL fan in the world because we've been waiting for 30 years and we still dont have a clear-cut sign.

if the CFL came to the maritimes i wouldnt be surprised if we had some of the best fans in the game. here EVERYTHING is supported to the maximum, thats why AUS sports are the best supported here in the CIS over any other conference. thats why people like me spend $45 on a ticket to see billy elliot race in my hometown in a few weeks even tho i dont have a clue about the sport of stock car racing or really care about anything related to NASCAR, but the fact that professional athletes are given the chance to perform here in front of die-hard sports fans gives me the honor of being there in the first place. if anyone had a clue about the situation here its not that the CFL isnt wanted.. its the anti-sports majority rule of government around here.

Reading this about Swangard Stadium in Burnaby and how with a bit of money, it is possible to transform something that isn't much into something that can be used at least temporarily. Are you listening QC, Halifax wherever?

Sprucing up Swangard to show the world

Dan Hardman, the General Manager of the Burnaby Site Organizing Committee for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, oversees preparations at Swangard Stadium for the international soccer tournament, which is expected to attract up to 10,000 spectators to each game, as well as hundreds of media from around the world.

Metal girders are being put up piece by piece. Trucks delivering material move in and out. Mobile cranes lift heavy stuff into place. Temporary trailers dot the site. Workers in hard hats go back and forth.

Sounds like another high rise going up in Burnaby, right? Wrong. In this case it’s the temporary face lift being given to utilitarian Swangard Stadium in Central Park. By next weekend, Don Hardman promises it will look beautiful for when it’s displayed on television sets around the globe.

“We want to be match ready by next Thursday,? said Hardman as he showed a couple of visitors the site Thursday morning.

Hardman is the general manager for the Burnaby site organizing committee for the FIFA men’s under-20 World Cup. Two games will be played on each of July 1, 4 and 7 with a playoff game on July 11.

Swangard had to be upgraded substantially to meet FIFA’s requirements. The biggest was to take the stadium’s seating for 4,500 to 10,000. Luxury suites had to appear out of nowhere. Space for media to work and dignitaries to schmooze had to be created. The pitch and its surroundings had to look like the rest of the six sites across the country. Plenty of phones and tons of televisions were needed.

Hardman has just 10 days pull off the transformation.

“Because there’s so much operational and infrastructure work that needed to be done at Swangard it was a challenge relative to the other venues like Commonwealth Stadium (in Edmonton) and Toronto or Montreal? that already have the seating and space in place, said Hardman.

Ideally FIFA wants stadiums that can hold 10,000 to 20,000 people. One doesn’t exist in Greater Vancouver – BC Place was way too big and doesn’t have natural grass. Although the Canadian Soccer Association could have gone to a city that did have one, the CSA decided to do what it could to make Swangard’s round peg fit in FIFA’s square hole.

“It was important to have it here because the CSA really wanted to have a Lower Mainland presence to the tournament,? said Hardman.

The stadium’s capacity is being increased by installing 6,000 temporary seats on the east side. They’ll rise 35 rows up, which will make them higher than the permanent grandstand. The east side parking lot has been turned into an area for concessions, displays and washrooms for the new seats.

A 4,000 square foot tent is being set up as a media working area. (Media seating will also steal 500 seats from the grandstand.) There will be a 2,000 square foot hospitality tent. A youth program area for the 75 local kids providing pre-match entertainment has to be done up, too.

Trailers will be used for dressing rooms. Each of the four Group B teams – Spain, Uruguay, Zambia and Jordan – will have three units, one for change rooms, another for showers and a third for training.

Eighteen field-level suites will be built at the north end of the pitch. They will be elevated by about a metre and seat 14 each. Hardman said about 85 per cent of them have been sold for the four dates.

A video board is being brought in to replace the current south-end scoreboard.

A look also has to be created consistent with the other five sites. That means banners, scrim and signage to give it an “event-specific look? for television audiences around the world, who will be told the games will be coming from Burnaby.

“That’s something we’re committed to, that it’s a Burnaby event,? Hardman said.

Next week the technical stuff will be put in such as electrical wiring, phones, and televisions.

Work on all those things wasn’t able to begin until two hours after the Easter Seals 24 Hour Relay for the Kids finished last Sunday. The first game is next Sunday.

“FIFA is quite comfortable with what we’ve explained on paper,? said Hardman. “We have a solution here that they’re satisfied with.

“Next week it will be everything we expect it to be.?

Organizers did do a couple of things ahead of time. Permanent backed seats, courtesy of Vancouver Whitecaps owner Greg Kerfoot, were installed in some of the stadium’s sections earlier this year. Funding from the City of Burnaby and the CSA allowed the lighting to be upgraded by 2 1/2 times what it was before.

“It’ll be like going from black and white to colour,? said Hardman of the difference the stronger bulbs will make.

The lights and new backed-seats will be left as a legacy. So will be such things as FIFA regulation Plexiglas-protected players benches.

The cost of all the upgrades takes up half of the committee’s $1-million site budget.

Hardman, who turns 35 on Tuesday, has plenty of experience with this sort of thing. The San Antonio native came to Vancouver for Orca Bay in 1995 for the opening and operation of GM Place, specializing in event management and operations. In 2000, he joined the Vancouver Grizzlies and organized their move to Memphis. He moved there with the team and helped build and operate the FedEx Forum before moving back for family reasons in 2005.

The Swangard upgrade has been in the planning stages for 18 months, and Hardman has been on board since the spring of 2006.

“The best job I did as a chair was hiring Don Hardman,? said site organizing committee chair John Rocha. “He’s made my life a lot easier.?

Parking won’t be so easy. The swimming pool parking lot off of Boundary Road will be used by media and officials. For spectators, a park-and-ride system has been set up at BCIT where there are 2,500 spaces. The shuttles will begin three hours before game time and the gates will open two hours prior to kickoff. Organizers are also encouraging the use of transit since the Patterson SkyTrain station is nearby."

[url=http://www.burnabynewsleader.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=41&cat=23&id=1012694&more=0]http://www.burnabynewsleader.com/portal ... 694&more=0[/url]


The thing about Swanguard is they have room and real-estate to expand it bigger. Althouth, the Tree-Huggers may be chaining themselves to trees when they find out a few trees might have to come down for expansion!

The people running this city know squat about sports. Which is why they wasted millions renovating Labatts Park for those failed minor pro baseball teams.

Even the John Labatts Centre, instead of going all out and putting in 15,000 seats, they cut costs and while they have a nice arena, there aren’t nearly enough seats for the demand.

But I think London would be a great CFL town. Our support of the KNights, and Mustangs football, shows what a great sports town we are.

But like I say, the people running this city still think small town, even though London and area is probably close to a million people!

And East Van Ark.
Yes TD Stadium is that much of a disaster. Its a bare bone aluminum garbage can that looks like a strong wind could knock it over.

Thats what you get when you go on the cheap. I’m surprised they even put benches and didn’t make the fans stand the whole game to save a few bucks!

London is an interesting city from a demographics and geographic perspective, fairly large and just far enough from Toronto. But man, who did their forecasting modelling for potential Knights fans? They messed up as you say not building it a bit bigger anyways. My brother was telling me that they, the city, were looking at making the JLC smaller than 9000 but that I think it is Spectrum Entertainment who runs the facility said they had to make it at least 9000 for them to be able to attract some fairly big names in the music biz. As I say, did they do any heavy duty forecasting? Agree that the money they spent on John Labatt Park might have been better spent on a better football faciltiy, their AA team has gone and that was what they were pinning their money on there and then going AAA maybe. Not to be.

And yes, the baseball craze of the 90's with the Jays winning the WS a couple of times has had a negative effect on football facilities I believe. Great that baseball facilties were upgraded and new ones put in place, baseball is an excellent game and many thought, including some of us, that the CFL and football was going to become extinct in some way in Canada. But low and behold, this didn't happen. At least Hamilton didn't put too much into baseball here, heck, they didn't put much into football either but more than baseball at least. The Expos leaving has had a fairly large effect on the growth of football in Quebec I think.

What I think will be "the next big thing" will be what does Rogers do with 1) the Blue Jays and 2) the Rogers Centre. Will they sell the BJ's? Will they build a baseball only stadium which the real baseball people in Toronto want badly? Or get out of baseball and maybe go into football in some way? Who knows but there are signs I think that Rogers and football might be a closer fit in the near future than many of us imagined, will be interesting to follow. I think they are pissed that there is no real salary cap in baseball and tough to make enough money in the game.

The problem here is the politicians. They seem happy how the city/province is, and don’t seem to want to develop it more.

Its stupid, it really is. We could have done the Commonwealth Games. They are too small minded.

Can’t wait till I can vote.

The problem is the politicians do have to watch out because they can't pretend to be spending money on things that people, some anyways, deem as frivolous like sports or art galleries unless they can prove to people that the city will gain financially from spending millions of tax dollars on buildings for pro athletes, musicians, artists etc. It's not always that easy. Look at libraries, places where people, especially people in low incomes in some cases, spend time to check out books they can't afford or spend time on computers they can't afford, and yet still the politicians cut back hours and service and that. They do have to be careful. Look in Hamilton, we have a 17,000 hockey arena that the NHL says is too mickey mouse for an NHL team and hockey fans say is too cavernous for a junior or AHL team. And the thing cost some $40 mill. Now they need a billionaire to spend money to make it NHL standards and then give him the keys to Hamilton Place theatre and the convention centre. They do have to watch themselves. Look at the Big O and Skydome. Not saying governments shouldn't be spending on stadiums and arenas, yes, sometimes you have to to a certain extent. But to what extent and for what group of people?