The Wanderers Will Pitch A Permanent Stadium To Halifax This Week
The Halifax Wanderers will state their case for a permanent stadium in a city committee on Thursday.
The Canadian Premier League club, which boasts regular sell-out crowds at its temporary Wanderers Grounds stadium, will give a presentation to a Halifax council committee in a bid to move forward on a permanent stadium ground.
Club President Derek Martin, who will be leading the pitch, told the committee that the club has established itself as an important piece of the greater Halifax sports community, but that a pop-up stadium isn’t appropriate for a professional sports team. The club’s contract for the current temporary stadium will expire in 2024.
It was back in 2017 when Martin first appeared before the committee to request a pop-up stadium be placed on the grounds. By the end of this season, the temporary venue will have hosted over 75 professional soccer matches and five international rugby matches, with some 400,000 citizens and tourists taking part in the stadium festivities since the pop-up stadium was erected.
Despite proving to be a hearty draw for Halifax, the current setup lacks portable toilets, running water, or built-in food concession stands, which would all be alleviated by a permanent stadium solution. Martin told media earlier this year that the concept of the club and its draw for the city have been well-proven, though an opposition party has publicly opposed a permanent stadium on the grounds.
Those grounds have historically hosted a sporting team, with the land being used in the 1880s by the Halifax Wanderers Amateur Athletic Club for rugby and lawn bowling. That team failed to pay its lease fees during the Second World War, with the land use reverting back to the city ever since.
The Canadian Premier League club is currently dug in to battle for a playoff spot, but the mission Derek Martin now finds himself on will be of crucial importance for the sustainability of the Atlantic’s only professional soccer team. The club president has long-believed that a permanent venue could realistically fit 10,000 spectators into the space, with the pop-up’s current capacity of just over 6,000 being routinely filled.
We reported than an early estimate for the cost behind a permanent stadium solution was estimated to be twenty million. With the stadium on public lands, Martin believes a private soccer team would have no place in an ownership stake. That’s similar to the Halifax Mooseheads, who are not required to be the owners of downtown Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre which boasts a sporting capacity of 10,595.
The Canadian Premier League has already seen a club on its west coast, Pacific FC, see a stadium expansion project go forth. The stadium finished a large part of the project in 2019, and had another phase to its renovation completed this year, which is also when newcomer Vancouver FC installed a modular stadium of its own.
Conversely, the lack of securing a stadium ground saw Living Sky Sports and Entertainment’s Saskatoon-based CPL bid fail just last week, losing the group their exclusive expansion rights to the province.
While the Halifax Wanderers have kept quiet on what their own stadium pitch will look like, things will come to light this Thursday after Derek Martin speaks to the Halifax city committee about the potential for a permanent venue. The morning-time meeting will be livestreamed here.
Header Image Photo Credit: David Chant