Council gives go ahead for Halifax Metro Centre to be sold, in name only

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HALIFAX - Calling all fat cats — Trade Centre Limited is looking to sell the name of Halifax’s only major arena.

The Halifax Metro Centre in the city's downtown core could soon have a new name.

Halifax regional council voted Tuesday to work with TCL on the naming rights for the Halifax Metro Centre.

A request for proposals will now be issued to gauge interest, although financial institutions, telecom companies and alcohol companies are the ones to likely step forward, a staff report said.

It’s believed the naming rights could bring in as much as $500,000 annually for upgrades and refurbishments to the 35-year-old facility, the report said.

But the motion wasn’t passed without some councillors speaking out against alcohol companies potentially winning the rights.

“If it’s named for them, there will be lots of advertisements,”said Coun. Gloria McCluskey, pointing to comments made by chief public health officer Dr. Robert Strang about the negative effects that alcohol advertising has on young people.

Staff explained there would be legal issues in blocking alcohol companies from submitting proposals since the Metro Centre is not owned by the municipality.

“That still doesn’t make me feel very good about it,” McCluskey said.

Coun. David Hendsbee disagreed, saying everyone should have the opportunity to submit a proposal.

Booze companies already appear on arenas in other parts of Canada — Ontario’s Barrie Molson Centre and the Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont., for example.

A staff report said the Metro Centre needs significant updates that will require a large capital investment from the municipality.

The $6 million project includes $2.3 million for replacing the seating, $2 million for a new centre-ice clock, $1 million for expansion to washroom facilities and $1.2 million for a new ice slab.

- by Aly Thomson for Metro Halifax

Organizations: Metro Centre, Halifax regional council, Halifax Metro Centre.A Barrie Molson Centre Aly Thomson for Metro Halifax

Geographic location: Canada, Ontario, Budweiser Gardens London, Ont.

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