Halifax Forum saved by council vote, renovations considered
Proposed Forum renovation would cost an estimated $39 million
After five years of discussions to close the Halifax Forum, Halifax regional council has voted to save and renovate the nearly 90-year-old building.
Hundreds of people have rallied to save the building from demolition.
The Forum was built in 1927. The city was looking at building a new four-pad ice surface down the road at CFB Halifax, as part of a plan to replace aging arenas.
Lynn Wagner is happy the Forum is staying open.
"I grew up in that building so I really didn't want to see it go," she said Tuesday.
"I've been a 53-year neighbour of the Forum and have always been able to see it from my front door. I kind of got sentimental, I guess, in the end."
George Findlay, chairman of the board of the Halifax Forum Community Association, said the news is a relief.
"We're quite ecstatic about it, actually. We were pretty optimistic before the meeting today, but to have it verified by council is a good feeling," he said.
Until Tuesday night, the fate of the Forum was up in the air.
"It's a community hub. It has served people for 86 years and, you know, I hope it will be serving for another 86," said Findlay.
The next step is figuring out what to do with the building, which needs work.
The Halifax Forum Community Association would like to add a gym, a third ice surface and renovate the existing ice surface to be NHL size. Its plan would cost $39 million.
In a report earlier this year, city staff said the most cost effective option was to close up to seven older arenas — including the Halifax Forum and the Centennial Arena — in favour of building new rinks. The idea was to sell the Forum land and use that money to build a new four-pad arena with CFB Halifax in Windsor Park.
The city will review those and other proposals, which means more discussions are to come.
City officials want the work completed in the next five years.