Halifax’s regional council approved proposed changes to the downtown convention centre on Tuesday night, but the issue of allowing public access along Grafton Street still has to be ironed out.  

The move means the convention space will be above ground and the hotel component will be built on a different part of the property.

The developer was also given permission to include Grafton Street in the redevelopment plans. Rank Incorporated wants to use the area as an events plaza.

But Coun. Waye Mason says council has not decided to actually close Grafton Street.

“It’s a separate process around whether or not the city is going to sell the street or lease the street or allow an encroachment fee or maintain a public right-of-way. The developer himself said he doesn't have to own Grafton Street to go ahead with the project,” he said.

“I’m not convinced that you need to take away the public right-of-way just because you might program that street. We have ways to do that without closing the street as a public road.”

The District 7 councillor says he's heard loud and clear that the public still wants access.  

City staff will bring back a new report on the issue to council. If the recommendation is to close the street there will have to be another public hearing.

In the meantime, the developer has permission to continue construction as soon as he receives a building permit.