Nova Scotia

Seaport Market takeover still in limbo

The takeover of the financially troubled Halifax Seaport Market by the Port Authority still hasn't taken place and it may be before the end of the year before the deal goes through.

Port Authority expects to take over market before end of year

Plans are underway for the Halifax Port Authority to take over the operation of the Seaport Market, but the Port Authority says there are no immediate changes planned for a market that had its grand opening two years ago this weekend.

It has been four and half months since vendors with the Halifax Market co-op agreed to turn over the management of the market to the Port Authority, their landlord.

"We are hopeful it will be within the fall and definitely we foresee it will be complete by the end of 2012," said Port Authority spokesperson Michele Peveril.

Cost overruns during construction left the market co-op more than $10M in debt. Until the debt is dealt with, the Port Authority won't take control.

Dave Belt, a lavender farmer, is one of 250 Seaport Market vendors. He heads the co-op that is struggling to find a way to satisfy creditors. Belt remains tight-lipped about the negotiations.

"We're working with all the creditors," said Belt. "There are many details still to be worked out. We know what the problems are and have a good idea how to resolve them and we are delighted to have the Port provide a lifeline so we can go forward."

A consultant to the Seaport Market, Project for Public Spaces (PPS) arrived last fall and is still being paid to advise the co-op. Peveril says market goers may not even notice when the Seaport Market finally does change hands.

"Although PPS' early work was to get input from vendors and customers," said Peveril, "we would also like to initiate a process to gather even more community input."

The Seaport Market is currently open six days a week. Saturday is the biggest day, with thousands of visitors.