Nova Scotia

Time running out for new convention centre

Time appears to be running out for a new Halifax Convention Centre as its developer says the current proposal and price expires April 15.

Time appears to be running out for a new Halifax convention centre as its developer, Rank Inc., says the current proposal and price expire April 15.

The province and the city have agreed to contribute $56 million each and are waiting for the federal government to chip in its $47 million.

The convention centre was to be built on the former Halifax Herald Ltd. site on Argyle St., and would cost $2.9 million annually for facility maintenance and upgrades.

The centre was to be ready in January 2015.

The federal budget is scheduled to be tabled March 22. The Liberals could try to defeat the Conservative government the day before the budget using an opposition day motion or a vote on an unrelated money bill.

A federal election—which appears imminent—could stop the project dead in its tracks.

Nova Scotia's Minister of Transportation Bill Estabrooks said he's heard nothing about a federal announcement.

Government is forbidden to make spending announcements during election campaigns.

"[Developer] Joe Ramia has been extremely patient and professional through this whole process and those are qualities—particularly when it comes to patience—I don't exhibit very often," said Estabrooks.

Estabrooks acknowledged an election call would kill the deal.

"That would be my understanding unless there's an extension in place and that's not something that's on the table at this time."