Province to spend $29.5M on new Halifax Infirmary parking garage
Garage will replace existing lot that will come down as part of redevelopment project
The provincial government has approved $29.5 million for a new parking garage to be built across the street from the Halifax Infirmary, which will address the void created when the existing garage is demolished.
Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Lloyd Hines told reporters the funding was approved earlier this month.
A tender for the new garage — which will have up to 900 spaces and go on the existing Museum of Natural History parking lot on Summer Street — will be issued in January. All but $6 million of the cost will come from next year's budget.
Hines said a parking garage might be mundane in comparison to the other aspects of the $2-billion hospital redevelopment project, but parking is "vitally important" to operations.
It will be up to the company leading the project to decide when the existing garage on Robie Street will come down, but Hines said he expects it will happen in the spring of 2021, after the new parkade is complete.
Hines said he doesn't expect any long-term effects on the Wanderers Grounds or the Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers, the two neighbours to the south of the project area, once construction is complete.
Green space by museum to go
To compensate for the loss of the museum's parking lot, which has about 32 spaces, the government is also issuing a tender for a temporary parking lot to be constructed on the green space to the north of the museum.
Even if the temporary lot wasn't going there, Hines said the green space would eventually be used as part of the hospital redevelopment project.
The announcement comes a day after the fall sitting at Province House wrapped up, where the environment was a central issue of debate.
Hines said the government is mindful of the loss of green space as part of the project, but the predominant use of cars for transportation and need for parking had to be considered.
"If anybody parks in the downtown here in the city you know what it's like — either, A, to find a spot or, B, to pay for one if you get it," said Hines.
"So, in this instance here there's a bit of a sacrifice, yes, in terms of where we're going but that service is vital to the facility and we feel that it's worth the sacrifice to put this particular facility in place."
2,700 parking spaces in total
The minister said there would be further expansion of parking services for the hospital before the redevelopment is complete, which will ultimately result in a total of 2,700 parking spaces, up from the current 1,400.
Hines said it would be up to Partners for Care, the non-profit that manages parking, to determine what rates would be in place for the new garage on Summer Street. A spokesperson for the organization said that while they have influence on rates, the province has decision-making authority.