Nova Scotia

Halifax Forum redevelopment plans narrowly approved by council

Halifax regional council voted 7-6 in favour of saving the Halifax Forum's 92-year-old facade and building two NHL-size rinks on the site. Cost estimates for the project range from $70 million to $86 million.

Council voted 7-6 in favour of the project that's expected to cost between $70M and $86M

Halifax CAO Jacques Dubé told council the overall cost of the project will be offset by private investors who are interested in building housing, retail space and a parking garage on the property. (+VG Architects)

Halifax regional council narrowly voted in favour of redevelopment plans for the Halifax Forum on Tuesday.

The proposal from HRM staff involves saving the facade of the 92-year-old heritage building.

The existing rink would be replaced with a new one that includes close to 3,000 seats.

The Forum facility would connect to a concourse, a second arena and a multipurpose space.

Estimates for the cost range from $70 million to $86 million.

The Halifax Forum arena would be renovated to preserve its heritage aspects and would be able to seat 2,900 people. (+VG Architects)

Several councillors said the Forum was worth it.

"That is an iconic facade on the front of that building," said Steve Streatch, the councillor for Waverley-Fall River-Musquodoboit Valley. "I just cannot see me voting to tear that down."

"The community deserves this project," said Waye Mason, who represents Halifax South Downtown.

"It makes sense to invest in our own heritage buildings," said Sam Austin, the councillor for Dartmouth Centre.

Other councillors felt the cost was too expensive.

'We're getting too little in return,' says Coun. Zurawski

"Wow, this is steep," said Richard Zurawski, who represents Timberlea-Beechville-Clayton Park-Wedgewood. "I think it's too much and we're getting too little in return."

"I want a more creative solution for the site," said David Hendsbee, the councillor for Preston-Chezzetcook-Eastern Shore.

Halifax CAO Jacques Dubé told council the overall cost of the project will be offset by private investors who are interested in building housing, retail space and a parking garage on the property.

"There is real attraction from the private sector," he said. "I think there is a real opportunity there."

Vote breakdown

Council voted 7-6 in favour of the proposal.

Dubé said a request for proposals will go out, negotiations with interested developers will take place and detailed plans will come to council.

About the Author

Pam Berman

Reporter

Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to pam.berman@cbc.ca

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