The Halifax Examiner reports: after much delay, the city is offering the tender for construction of the pavilion at The Oval. Back in 2012, the city issued a request for proposals for design of both the plaza and the accompanying building, but with the sense that things were going too fast for design of a building, that tender was cancelled*. Since then, the plaza has been built and named after a beer company that paid pennies on the dollars of the construction price, and the city went into super consultation-with-citizens mode for design of the building. Here are some pretty pictures of what is said to be the final design for the building, https://www.halifax.ca/skatehrm/OvalOpenHouse.php but I can’t check them against today’s tender offer because it is only available to those willing to pay 100 bucks for it, so I can’t give any more details. Closing date for the tender, however, is March 12.
FHC NOTE- * The specs for the then $1.4 million building include as found in the appendix D: Total Operational Space: 220 m2 for storage, equipment, skates/helmets, sharpening, electrical & mechanical, staff room and office operations. Total Public Space: 112m2 if you include the 50 m2 of washrooms. https://www.gov.ns.ca/tenders/pt_files/tenders/P12-154.pdf
In March 2012 HRM understood through a legal opinion it sought that buildings on the Common may be illegal. HRM subsequently lobbied the provincial government to have the HRM Charter amended to permit the legal erection of a permanent building on the North Common in exclusive support of the Oval. November 2012: https://nslegislature.ca/legc/bills/61st_4th/1st_read/b157.htm
During this time the Friends of Halifax Common proposed reasonable alternatives to the Mayor and Council and the Premier such as spending the budget to improve the existing Pavilion on the Central Common, a yearly international design competition for warming huts (like Winnipeg has) or yurts as found in many ski hills and golf courses. All of them ignored. Please see details in the attached December 2012 submission to law amendments.
A Masterplan for the Halifax Common is scheduled to begin in 2016. Another building without a big picture plan is another example of bad process. Direction for governance given in the 1994 Halifax Common Plan includes a commitment to retain the Halifax Common’s public open space, retain the city’s ownership of the Halifax Common and increase the amount of city land owned through recapture of lands (such as the CBC TV).
The protection of the 251 year old Halifax Common, as a “front lands” deserving of permanent protection should be considered as an important component of any community green belt.