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Tim Arsenault: Olympic scratch-and-dent stadium could be the CFL ticket

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Randy Ambrosie, the commissioner of the Canadian Football League, is due in Halifax on Friday to intercept all the talk about an expansion team coming to the city.

Just kidding; he’s totally going to try to get politicians and the good people of the municipality on board.

Not to take the air out of his ball, but he must know there are at least a couple of things blocking the project. As is always pointed out, aside from the sudden appearance of an owner who would develop the enterprise completely with his or her own money, the biggest obstacle to the Atlantic Schooners taking the field is the absence of an appropriate field.

Enjoy all the Armchair athleticism, follow the Games here.

Well, hear me out. In a few weeks, a certain 35,000-seat facility is set to outlive its shockingly short usefulness.

It hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but the stadium at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics is only going to be used for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games and the Paralympics. After March 18, it’s destined for demolition. I mean, come on. Even the worst CFL team is guaranteed nine home dates a season.

This one grand Games facility cost a reported US$100 million to build. I haven’t seen an estimate on the teardown, but I assume it’ll be substantial, too.

Tim Arsenault
Tim Arsenault

With some elbow grease and Post-Panamax container ships, that destructible pentagonal stadium could be the biggest ready-to-assemble project in our region, not counting your Ikea bedroom set.

The wasteful facilities strategy is not unprecedented. Albertville, France, the Winter Games host in 1992, did the same with its ceremonial stadium, according to The Associated Press, and the luge and bobsled track at Turin, Italy in 2006 was eventually taken down because it was deemed too expensive to maintain. The trend has been to just let these expensive structures deteriorate with little or no tenancy, something that happened only months after the Summer Games ended in Rio in 2016.

But Gangwon province, which is on the hook for these Winter Games, is an aging region of about 40,000 people considered to be among the country’s poorest residents. The powers that be must think getting rid of a concrete reminder of forthcoming tax bills is better than putting a roof on it and moving everyone in.

All I’m saying is that there’s going to be a lightly used stadium available soon. An as-is, where-is offer might not be out of bounds.

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