HFX Wanderers FC make pitch for new stadium
Halifax Wanderers president Derek Martin wants the temporary pop-up stadium at the Wanderers Grounds transformed into a permanent venue.
“I think realistically, we could have space for 10,000 people here," said Martin, who added it would roughly be the same size as Scotiabank Centre. “There’s a reason why the Scotiabank Centre works so well, because it’s the right size for our city.”
Martin wants the city and province to build a new stadium by 2026, in time for the FIFA World Cup of Soccer which will be hosted by Canada, the United States and Mexico.
“We could showcase a venue, and promote it to a number of countries that are coming to Canada and the USA for the World Cup," said Martin. "They would then come to Halifax for a month or two and use it as a home base leading up to the World Cup and use it for the training ground.”
Martin also said the Wanderers have proven as a tenant they could fill a new stadium with fans.
According to Soccer Nova Scotia executive director Brad Lawlor, a new stadium could also help grow the sport to even new levels within the province.
“There is an exposure factor for sure," said Lawlor. "They get to see the national team playing here. There’s a lot of discussion about a women’s professional league in Canada and that would help as well.”
As for the stadium price tag?
“Somewhere in the neighbourhood of $20 million," said Martin who hopes the city and province step up to assist with funding in the near future. “We’ve had some conversations and we would like to see some of those conversations become a little more active.”
CTV News reached out to Halifax Mayor Mike savage, but through a spokesperson he said it’s too soon to comment.
Issues like building a stadium on common land and partnerships with the city are all issues that need to be closely examined in the future.
David Garrett from the friends of the Halifax Common said when examining possible locations for a stadium, he would like the Wanderers to choose another location. Garrett said the original footprint of 240 acres common land on the Halifax peninsula continues to shrink each year.
“This has been going on for centuries and it is every generation who comes along with a new great use," said Garrett. "And the Common is getting smaller, smaller and smaller.”
“I actually agree with them," said Martin. "All we are trying to do is maintain what this location has been historically. If you look back at pictures from the 19th Century, this was a Stadium.”
And he wants it to be a permanent stadium again by 2026.