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Community meeting gives clearer picture for historic Halifax Forum redevelopment

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Despite showing its age, the Halifax Forum continues to play a vital role in the community and on Monday the organization that runs the facility updated the public on the redevelopment plan for the facility.

The redevelopment plans have gone through various stages of planning and discussion at Halifax council since 2014.

"The next election will be our fourth council that these plans have been in front of," said Paul Card, the board chair of the Halifax Forum Community Association, which runs the Halifax Forum complex and is a partner with the municipality.

Jack Woodill is a stone and brick mason who has played hockey at the Halifax Forum, but on Tuesday he was outside the building on a scissor lift replacing old bricks and mortar so they don't fall on people.

"I like working on old buildings," said Woodill. "It's really fun to see how long somethings have lasted on in the city and to be able to patch it up and repair it."

Card estimates 60 people attended to a community meeting at the Halifax Forum Monday night, which partly focused on the temporary homeless shelter operating in the facility’s multipurpose space.

Dozens of people attended a meeting about the Halifax Forum on April 15, 2024. (James Kvammen/CTV Atlantic)The meeting also discussed the redevelopment plan that has been a long time coming.

"It's certainly past its prime," said Card. "So we're excited to be able to give an update and the community seemed excited, too."

In terms of a construction timeline, Card says they and the Halifax Regional Municipality are moving ahead with the design and pre-construction phase. Construction is expected to begin in 2026.

The Halifax Regional Municipality confirmed the tender and design process is underway and expects the construction to be completed by 2030.

A design of the redeveloped Halifax Forum. (Source: Halifax Forum Community Association)The Halifax Forum complex has two ice surfaces and several multi-use and recreation spaces, which Card says are in constant use.

Losing two ice surfaces during construction would impact the Halifax hockey community.

"We're busy all the time, so it will be a tough question for the municipality on what we do while this is under redevelopment," said Card.

The longer the project takes, the more expensive it gets. Earlier cost estimates for the redevelopment plans have jumped from $81 million in 2021 to $110 million in 2023. 

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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