Tensions rise as province issues tender for controversial parking garage
Plans for a new hospital parkade have been met with concern from HRM Coun. Waye Mason
January 29, 2020, 10:43 am ASTLast Updated: January 29, 2020, 3:51 pm
Plans for a controversial seven-storey parking garage that encroaches the Halifax Common have city officials and residents angry.
The new parkade is part of the QEII New Generation Project. Renderings released by the Nova Scotia Government show just how much space the parkade will require, fuelling an already heated debate. A tender for the project was issued by the province Tuesday.
The parking garage is planned to be built on Summer Street across from the Halifax Infirmary. It will have up to 900 parking spaces and will be built on an existing parking lot beside the Museum of Natural History.
The parkade has become a divisive topic, drawing the attention of HRM Coun. Waye Mason. He has voiced concerns about the location of the parkade and the overall lack of transparency from the province regarding the plans.
In a letter written to Premier Stephen McNeil on Friday, Mason asked that the province engage with the community and make the plans for the QEII redevelopment public.
A news release issued Tuesday by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal said that the lot is owned by the province but they will be seeking to buy about half an acre of land from the city. It also said the parkade will not be built on recreational space.
In a written statement, Mason said that the “built on provincial land claim is false” and that “39% of the land required to build this garage needs to be purchased from HRM and removed from the Common park lands.”
In addition to the parkade, there is a proposed power plant for the hospital that will be built on the current temporary parking lot. Mason has previously pointed out that the temporary lot used to be green space.
“I am completely disappointed in the province,” said Mason in the written statement.
“Why has the actual plan for the hospital not been made public?”
Mason could not be reached for an interview, but he will be attending a meeting at the Nova Scotia Legislature on Wednesday. The meeting will be attended by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, and Nova Scotia Lands.
Also in the cross-hairs are the Halifax Wanderers Football Club and the Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers. Whoever is awarded the tender will be required to consult with both groups, who operate on adjacent lands.
In a statement issued after the tender was posted, the Bengal Lancers expressed their concern over the project. They hope to work with the province and the city to reach a positive solution.
“We do not believe our needs have been taken into account,” the statement read.
The Wanderers released a statement Wednesday applauding the efforts of Mason and recognizing the need for new hospital infrastructure, but along with the Lancers are concerned about the proposal.
“The draft plan released would have a significant impact on our ability to operate our stadium on game days, while also limiting our potential for future growth,” the statement read.
The new parkade will replace the existing one on Robie Street, which has 672 parking spaces. The QEII New Generation Project includes knocking down the Robie Street parkade to make room for a new inpatient centre that will include additional operating rooms and hospital beds.
The tender for the parkade closes March 5.
According to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, the matter will be brought to Halifax regional council in the coming weeks.
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