2-week hold placed on tender for Halifax hospital parking garage

Click to play video: 'New location proposed for QEII redevelopment parkade' New location proposed for QEII redevelopment parkade
WATCH: Plans to build a new multi-storey parking garage and power plant on Halifax Common have generated much debate and controversy. Alex MacLean has more. – Feb 12, 2020

Officials with Nova Scotia’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure say the tender for a controversial parkade in downtown Halifax is now on hold.

The province released plans for a seven-storey parkade next to the Museum of Natural History late last year. The tender was released last month, which revealed the province would need to buy part of the Halifax Common from the city.

READ MORE: Work underway to prevent multi-storey hospital parkade from being built on HFX Common

That sparked opposition in the community, with many expressing concern with the loss of green space.

Last week, Halifax Regional Council voted unanimously to narrow Summer Street to shift the parkade’s location.

A map issued by the Nova Scotia government for the construction of the QEII Parkade. The yellow area on the map is currently owned by the Halifax Regional Municipality. Government of Nova Scotia

John O’Connor, the department’s executive director of major infrastructure projects, says the province is considering that plan.

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“We’re just looking at how we could do that, and same with the central plant. We’re [looking] at bringing it over on the hospital side,” said O’Connor.

“If we move Summer Street somewhat, we might be able to fit it between the new ambulatory care building and the street, and leave the space that’s next to the museum on the north side of the museum, leave that as green space.”

Click to play video: 'Petition to Protect the Halifax Common ' Petition to Protect the Halifax Common 
Petition to Protect the Halifax Common  – Feb 7, 2020

Bidders have been told there’s a two-week hold on the design-build tender.

“We think we’ll hopefully find a solution within another few weeks,” said O’Connor.

The province still wants to start building 800 new parking spaces for the hospital by May.

READ MORE: Dispute over Halifax Common heats up as province releases QEII parkade tender

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O’Connor says the department is also considering temporary options, including building a smaller garage and having surface parking elsewhere during construction.

But O’Connor stopped short of identifying exactly where that would happen, as the owner of some of the properties have not yet been contacted.

“Anything temporary would likely be surface parking,” he added.

“If we build a parkade, we want to build it to be part of the temporary solution and the permanent solution.”

With files from Alexa MacLean. 

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