Halifax Municipality Extends Land Agreement With HFX Wanderers
The city of Halifax has agreed to extend an agreement with Canadian Premier League side Halifax Wanderers in a move that will see the club remain at Wanderers Grounds for a further two years.
The deal to keep the side at Wanderers Grounds now runs through to April 2024, with a renewal option potentially extending the rental agreement for a a further season, too.
The updated terms of the agreement see the full capacity listed at 8,000, though this includes spectators, matchday participants and officials, security, and staff. The club is permitted to host a maximum of 25 professional soccer games per season.
Halifax had initially entered two rental agreements with the CPL side’s parent company, Sports & Entertainment Atlantic, for hosting sporting events: the first was a one-year license and rental agreement for 2018, with the second being a three-year license to allow the Halifax Wanderers to host professional soccer matches throughout the 2019, 2020, and 2021 seasons.
The latter rental agreement has now been extended a further two seasons, with a calendar end date of April 2024 and an option to renew for an additional year. It includes plans to beautify the space, too.
The inaugural CPL season saw the fledgling CPL side play 18 matches at Wanderers Grounds, with the Wanderers enjoying a good turnout throughout the season that prompted Club President Derek Martin to suggest that capacity might eventually get expanded.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 seeing the next season take place as a bubble tournament in Prince Edward Island, the Wanderers Grounds went without professional soccer for a year before this year’s return to home markets saw matches resume, eventually hitting full capacity with a proof of vaccination policy put into place.
In a letter written to the municipality, Halifax Wanderers Club President Derek Martin stated that extending the original agreement for a further two years would allow for a more accurate picture of the downtown location’s long-term viability. He remains hopeful to find a permanent solution, too.
While our inaugural 2019 season provided us all with overwhelming evidence that the reimagining of the Wanderers Grounds as the home of professional soccer in the downtown core was a huge success, the subsequent loss of the 2020 season due to COVID and the likelihood of a truncated 2021 season give us all reason to continue evaluating the long-term viability of the Wanderers Grounds as our permanent home while we determine what enhancements will be required to establish the venue as a suitable home for a club playing in Canada’s tier one professional soccer league.Derek Martin
Prior to the club’s arrival, the Halifax municipality performed an extensive rehabilitation of the field at a cost of some $1 million, upgrading the site to a premiere Class AAA field to open up the possibility of hosting international competition. The field remains available for public bookings of game-only play suitable for the field.
The Halifax Wanderers currently find themselves fighting for the fourth and final playoff spot in the 2021 CPL season, with the east coast side just one point above York United. If head coach Stephen Hart can keep the spot, the Halifax Wanderers will have secured a playoff position in back-to-back seasons.
The Wanderers play two away matches before closing the season at home against Atletico Ottawa.