Construction of the $17-million Charlottetown Convention Centre began again this week after a four-month hiatus caused by buckling of the site's seawall, a setback that has delayed opening and already affected business.


Construction is again underway at the site of the new Charlottetown Convention Centre. (CBC)

Work on the centre was put on hold in November after the steel seawall around the site buckled and twisted for the second time under the pressure of shale dumped onto the site. Now construction has resumed on what will eventually become the centre's parking garage.

"Obviously it's been a challenging project for all concerned," said Ron Waite, general manager of the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation, which owns the land.

The CADC has been working to fix the problem by adding cement to the soil.

"And what it does is it is stiffens the soil, it makes the earth a little stronger," said Waite

"The soil that we were experiencing in there was almost Jell-O like.


Ron Waite, general manager of the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation, says construction on the centre has been challenging. (CBC)

Contractors have been putting in 12-hour days.

CADC won't say exactly how much the delay has cost, only that they don't think it will be more than $1 million.

"That's all part of a much broader dispute that we're really not prepared to discuss," said Waite.

"We're not sure what portion of it will be covered by insurance, and how much will be out-of-pocket cost."

Business lost

The convention centre was slated to open May 2013, but that has been delayed until July.

CADC has been working with the Delta Hotel to manage the changes.

The hotel had already booked conventions for May under the assumption the building would be done. Organizers had to scramble, and some business was lost.

"It was difficult to call them all, but it went off really well. So, with the exception of two groups, one which we still haven't decided until April, we've only lost one for next year," said Betty Ann Morrison, the Delta's director of sales and marketing.

For the conventions that still want to book before the centre's done, the hotel is getting creative. 

"We may have to put some tents up for a couple of lunches by Founders' Hall, and that's what we're going to do," said Morrison. "We may possibly have to use the seaport if it's available."

Later this week, tenders for construction on the walls and windows will go out. Mechanical and electrical tenders will go out in a few weeks.