[HALIFAX, NS] — If we’re going to build it, let’s build it well.
That was the overwhelming consensus at a public consultation meeting in Halifax on Monday night that heard input into the design of the Nova Centre, which is slated to open in 2016 and will include a new downtown convention centre.
Billed as an opportunity to share “ideas, insights, and inspiration on Nova Centre,” the meeting was attended by about 60 people including developers, event promoters, politicians, urban planners and interested members of the public.
About 125 people live-streamed the event online.
The majority of the approximately 25 speakers expressed approval for the idea of the downtown convention centre. Many spoke of the need to create a meeting space that would rejuvenate downtown Halifax and expressed the hope the Nova Centre would fit that bill.
Concert promoter Brookes Diamond echoed the sentiments of many at the meeting. “We have been living in a city that has been going through a long spell of negativity, slippage and decline,” he said. “This is a tremendous opportunity to develop our downtown and show the world we can really do something very special. That’s what this project represents.”
Mayoral candidate Fred Connors compared resistance to the Nova Centre to the opposition he faced personally when he located his hair salon and café in an old bank building in Halifax’s north end eight years ago — a decision he said eventually gained the approval of the community.
“Whether you support this project or not, every single person in Halifax is desperate to see symbols of progress in this city,” he said. “A lot of people are hoping that this building is going to be that symbol of progress.”
There were a few dissenting voices heard throughout the meeting. Beverly Miller from Coalition to Save the View said “there is very little we can find that’s positive about this project” and called the format of the meeting “a whitewash.”
The next meeting in the series will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Pavilion at Seaport Farmer’s Market in Halifax.