September 27, 2017 2:31 pm

Downtown Halifax businesses lose bid to fast track claims against Nova Centre

The Nova Centre, a mixed-use commercial development under construction in downtown Halifax, is seen on Monday, May 15, 2017.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press
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The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB) has quashed an attempt by a group of downtown Halifax restaurants to fast-track their claims of damages as a result of the construction of the Nova Centre, after the board ruled it didn’t have the jurisdiction to hear the case.

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The decision by the regulator found that it didn’t have the jurisdiction to hear the complaint after it determined that the province of Nova Scotia, Halifax Regional Municipality and the Halifax Convention Centre Corporation didn’t qualify as a “statutory authority” in relation to the damages claimed by one of the downtown restaurants, The Wooden Monkey.

READ MORE: Halifax businesses want utility board to decide battle over Nova Centre and lost revenue

Wagner’s Law Firm, which represents the group of downtown of businesses and was using the case of The Wooden Monkey as a test case, said that the battle isn’t over.

“Our options are twofold, we could appeal to the court of appeal and that is a real possibility,” said Ray Wagner, the law firm’s founder. “The other option is to proceed in the Supreme Court with a class action lawsuit.”

Wagner says the firm will be meeting with The Wooden Monkey and the rest of their clients, which include Biscuit General Store, Attica, The Carleton, The Economy Shoe Shop, Indochine and Drala Books & Gifts, on Tuesday where they’ll determine their next move.

Wagner said they could keep their options open and proceed with cases in both courts.

The Wooden Monkey, a Grafton Street restaurant, claims to have lost $508,107 in business as a result of the prolonged construction of the Nova Centre, which has forced sidewalks and streets to be closed, reduced parking and cut down pedestrian traffic.

WATCH: Here’s how Halifax is planning to deal with this summer’s waterfront construction

Other businesses claim to have similar experiences.

Wagner said they had decided to test their case in front of the NSUARB as it was the fastest way to get a result.

“These small businesses have been imperilled by government, in terms of their ability to continue,” he said.

The Nova Centre was supposed to have been completed in January 2016, but numerous delays have caused that date to be pushed back to December 2017.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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