Queen’s Marque: construction continues in tourism season
March 30, 2017, 9:11 am ADT Last Updated: March 31, 2017, 9:53 am ADT
Despite tourism season starting soon, the ongoing construction on the Halifax waterfront will be worthwhile in the end, according to Waterfront Development and the regional councillor for the area.
Construction on the Queen’s Marque development, midway along the boardwalk, began in January and is expected to last until 2019.
“There’s never a good time to do construction in a high-traffic area,” said Waye Mason, councillor for downtown Halifax. “You just have to do it.”
Queen’s Marque will include office space, a hotel, apartments and a ground floor of commercial retail and restaurant businesses that will open onto one of three outdoor plazas. Three new wharfs will be built in addition to the 75,000-square feet of public space to be developed on land.
The goal is to make it a landmark in the centre of the city, said Peter Bigelow, senior planner for Waterfront Development.
Bigelow said if locals find the space appealing, visitors will follow.
“We’re building our waterfront for you, so it’s not about the disruption, but more of a ‘look at us.’ We’re building world-class buildings created by local people, using local materials. This is who we are and that’s what visitors want to see,” Bigelow said. “It’s about celebrating that.”
He said the waterfront regularly receives about 2.7 million visitors from May to October. Provincial officials say that the numbers will likely increase for the upcoming tourism season, partly due to Canada’s 150th anniversary this July.
“The way it’s looking right now is like we’re going to have a banner year for tourism,” said Mason.
Bigelow said Armour Group Ltd., the construction company working on Queen’s Marque, is taking steps to minimize the negative impact on the community, including erecting a barrier around the site that will be “an art piece.” This is partly due to new HRM construction mitigation guidelines that were put in place in March 2016.
There are also plans for a floating boardwalk in the harbour in front of the construction site to keep pedestrian traffic flowing and the waterfront accessible.
“We’re going to have to continue to evaluate and respond once we see how the tourists and others (are) really interacting with the spaces, but right now I think there are some pretty good plans in place to deal with it,” said Mason.