A group of councillors in the Halifax Regional Municipality has endorsed a $2-million grant for the construction of the new $18.5-million Discovery Centre along the city's waterfront.

The grant still needs final approval from Halifax regional council, but Coun. Waye Mason said he's thrilled the city's Audit and Finance Committee agreed the municipality's contribution should be $2 million.

"It's really exciting to see what really will be a regional facility — buses full of children coming from all around the region," he said.

"I think it's going to be very exciting to take this to that next level."

Officials with the Discovery Centre said the move should encourage even more private donations for the new facility, which will be located at the Nova Scotia Power building on Lower Water Street.

The provincial and federal governments have already kicked in close to half of the total amount. The Nova Scotia government is contributing $6 million and the federal government is kicking in $3 million of the $18.5-million cost.

Nova Scotia Power has also agreed to chip in, with a free 25-year lease and an additional $1 million donation. There are also a couple of other private donors.

Dov Bercovici, president of the Discovery Centre, said municipal support will make a big difference when it comes to finishing the fundraising.

"We're about 50 per cent of our private sector target and there's a couple on the fence waiting to see what all three levels of government do. I think this will push a lot of them forward," he said.

Discovery Centre officials hope construction can begin this fall.  

The new centre, which will be double in size to approximately 40,000 square feet, will feature an interactive planetarium that makes people feel as though they are travelling in space.

Travelling exhibitions will be brought to Nova Scotia with donations from corporations such as Wilsons Fuel and Medavie Blue Cross.

The new Discovery Centre is expected to be finished toward the end of 2015.