After weeks of debate, a new solution to the QEII Health Sciences Centre parkade is on the table.
Regional council unanimously passed a motion to close a portion of Summer Street, adjacent to the existing QEII hospital, which would allow the construction of the parkade at that location.
“This is the start of a discussion with the province about what could be,” Coun. Waye Mason told council before the vote on Tuesday.
The Summer Street site, adjacent to the existing provincially owned QEII property, would be free for development after the CBC TV building on Bell Road is demolished this spring. The site would be at the corner of Bell Road and Summer Street.
“It’s an option to explore how we can make the province’s QEII site a little bit larger to support having a power plant and parkade on that site,” Mason told council.
Jacques Dubé, Halifax’s chief administrative officer, said at this point, the motion to close Summer Street does not mean the parkade will be built there for sure.
“There’s no formal plan at this juncture,” said Dubé. “There’s no hard and fast rule about what we may or may not do.”
Dubé said any plans for reconfiguring Summer Street to allow for the parkade and energy plant would require public consultation.
The vote came before the city released a declassified report outlining the province’s intentions to expropriate a parcel of municipal land needed to build the seven-storey, 900-car parkade next to the Halifax Museum of Natural History on Bell Road, if the municipality was unwilling to sell it.
The design plans for the proposed parkade were released Jan. 14, prompting critics to say there was no process for public input and the proposal showed little concern for the Halifax Common.
The Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers and the Halifax Wanderers, who both operate on land neighbouring the proposed parkade site, have spoken out against the project. The parkade would impede the soccer team’s stands, and the Lancers’ training paddock.
Peggy Cameron, a founder of Friends of the Halifax Common community group, says she’s happy the parkade might be moved but is adamant that the public be brought into the discussion.
Still, she worries about the future of the Common.
“This is a short-term solution to a long-term problem,” said Cameron. “The Common is not protected.”
A petition, started by Friends of the Halifax Common, demands the city “seek legislation from the Province that will give legislative protection to the Halifax Common.”
The parkade is part of the province’s $2-billion “New Generation” renovation and expansion of health-care services across HRM. The parkade is expected to be completed by March 2021.
With files from Nick Cantar
About the author
Sam calls Orillia, Ontario home. When he's not chasing Signal stories, he can be found sketching in cafes, watching soccer or following news...