Halifax mulls renovating or tearing down and rebuilding Forum
Published Tuesday, October 8, 2019 9:22PM ADT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 8, 2019 11:14PM ADT
HALIFAX -- Halifax Regional Municipality staff are developing a plan to upgrade the Halifax Forum.
It's a massive renovation that would include two ice surfaces and community space.
"This work also includes a heritage impact analysis with an approach to address and preserve the Forum building," said HRM spokeswoman Brynn Budden.
But that's only half of the plan.
Halifax Regional Coun. Lindell Smith says, within two months, council will actually be presented with two options for the Forum.
"What is the cost to go brand new and what is the cost to do renovations," Smith said.
One of the options is to tear down the building and build a new one.
At one time, the Forum was the largest indoor artificial ice surface east of Montreal. It first opened on Boxing Day in 1927.
It was built to last and has a capacity of more than 5,600. It's also an iconic structure oozing with history.
"I can't picture our neighborhood without it," said Smith.
It's more than a hockey facility; it's also home to craft fairs, concerts, and numerous community activities.
"The Forum for us doesn't lose money; it makes money," Smith said.
But the building is 92 years old and fixing it up could prove to be too expensive.
"The option that council asked for was to renovate, but we want to know the cost difference of building new and doing the renovations," Smith said.
Smith says he wants to save the Forum, but in his role as councillor, he also needs to be fiscally responsible and open to all scenarios.
"I would hate to see it be torn down, but we have to consider all the options," Smith said.
The Forum upgrade plan will be presented to Halifax Regional Council in the coming months.
One big backdrop to this story is community usage.
The Halifax Forum is a heavy traffic facility and is busy year-round.
One minor hockey association official said Tuesday their association uses the Forum ice for as much 20 hours a week and they do not have a Plan B.
They say, if the municipality takes away the Forum ice, they would have nowhere to go and it would have a negative impact.