Nova Scotia

Halifax mosque still working on gym

A gymnasium built with provincial money as part of a two-storey mosque and community centre is still under construction in central Halifax.
The multipurpose gym at the Halifax mosque is still not complete. (CBC)
A gymnasium built with provincial money as part of a two-storey mosque and community centre is still under construction in central Halifax.

The mosque on Charles Street has been in use since August, and worshippers supplied every dollar to build it.

But people in the local neighbourhood are wondering when the community gym, stage and kitchen will be open to the public.

Dr. Hadi Salah, who speaks for the Muslim nonprofit group that is building a multipurpose gym in the mosque's basement, said the walls of the gym are done and the floor will soon be installed.

A prayer room for 700 people upstairs is complete except for chandeliers coming from Egypt.

Salah said the push was to get the mosque open for the holy month of fasting and prayer, during which no noise is allowed.

Dr. Hali Salah said the work will be finished as soon as possible. (CBC)
"At the end of July, we had to stop the contractors because we wanted to open the building for Ramadan. We did finish Ramadan, but then we've been having difficulty getting them back," he said.

The plumber is coming next week, but work was delayed on the gym which has been paid for with $767,681 from the provincial Department of Health and Wellness.

The province contributed the money through a 2007 Nova Scotia government program called B-FIT. The program was introduced as a 10-year initiative to fund major sport and recreation infrastructure.

Deputy minister Kevin McNamara said he is confident the gym will open to the public this May.

"Our belief is that it still will be realized. We know there's been a delay and this often happens in some larger projects and also when you're involved with community groups," McNamara said.

In August, Salah said the basement was about 90 per cent complete and he predicted it would be finished in four to five months. At that time, he also said construction was set to resume after Aug. 29, when the holy month ended.

The nonprofit Muslim group has no bank loans. It still needs to raise $500,000 to finish the $6.2 million project.  

There are about 15,000 Muslims in the Halifax region. They have been asking for a proper mosque, or Masjid, for more than 15 years.

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