Nova Scotia

New bus terminal means projects may be delayed

Halifax Regional Municipality's decision to build a more expensive replacement for a new Metro Transit bus terminal means delaying other transit projects.

Halifax Regional Municipality's controversial decision to build a more expensive replacement for the Metro Transit bus terminal at the Dartmouth Sportsplex means delaying other transit projects.

Many people agree the bridge terminal needs replacing, but regional council approved a $12-million version with a pedway and an elevator even though there's only $8 million to $9 million in the budget.

Metro Transit officials say something else has to go — possible sacrifices include the Metro X route to the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, the new Lacewood bus terminal in Clayton Park and a new ferry to expand the Woodside service.

A new report said one of them will have to be delayed, but it won't be an easy choice.

Airport employees have been waiting years for a bus service.

And while the councillor who represents the Woodside-Eastern Passage district voted in favour of the more expensive bus terminal for the Sportsplex site, she said a new ferry is needed as soon as possible.

"Given the Nova Scotia Community College, since it opened, really, we're running at capacity and the buses are at capacity and we really need to address that and it's been a few years that we have had to make that a priority and I was happy to see that proceed and will not willingly see that to be lost," said Jackie Barkhouse.

Replacing the Lacewood Terminal in Clayton Park is also a priority for the local councillor, who said it's another busy transit spot with outdated facilities.

But since the new Lacewood site further down Willet Street is controversial, she thinks there could be an upside if it is the project that gets delayed.

"It's not that again they didn't want another terminal they just felt there should be another site to place it — so now we might be able to have an opportunity to get back maybe staff can consult with them, we have a little more time to work on it and maybe we can find another solution," said Mary Wile, the councillor for Clayton Park West.

The first discussion about which project should be delayed in order to pay for a new bus terminal at the Dartmouth Sportsplex will take place at a meeting of the Transportation Standing Committee on Monday.