Old are­nas’ fu­ture in doubt in Halifax re­gion

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ATLANTIC -

Halifax re­gional coun­cil has voted to de­mol­ish the Devon­shire and Ger­ald B. Gray Memo­rial are­nas while declar­ing the Bowles Arena sur­plus.

Mean­while many coun­cil­lors ex­pressed con­cern at the lack of progress on the ren­o­va­tion and ex­pan­sion of the Halifax Fo­rum.

Dur­ing a staff pre­sen­ta­tion, it was noted that the Gray, Bowles, Devon­shire and Le­brun are­nas have re­duced their op­er­at­ing times due to a lack of de­mand.

In 2012, coun­cil ap­proved the Long-Term Arena Strat­egy to guide long-term fa­cil­ity plan­ning and de­ci­sion-mak­ing through to 2022. This strat­egy found that the over­all use of the are­nas was de­clin­ing while sev­eral fa­cil­i­ties were out­dated or in poor con­di­tion.

One of the main rec­om­men­da­tions was to re­place many of the sin­gle ice sur­faces with new multi-pad, multi-sur­face are­nas.

Coun. Waye Ma­son said HRM has a pretty good mix of fa­cil­i­ties in place right now.

Ac­cord­ing to the staff re­port, there are cur­rently 24 ice sur­faces in HRM, with one mod­ern four-pad rink at the BMO Arena in Bed­ford and one in the works in Dart­mouth.

Ma­son said the Fo­rum is con­sid­ered by many as Halifax’s pri­mary sport­splex, and he’s wor­ried about wait­ing too long for ren­o­va­tions. In the re­port, staff men­tioned the Fo­rum build­ing as­sess­ment notes lim­i­ta­tions and risks as­so­ci­ated with ren­o­vat­ing it.

The ex­te­rior brick of the Fo­rum, which is listed as a her­itage build­ing, is in poor con­di­tion and has ex­ten­sive ar­eas of cracked brick.

Coun­cil voted to direct staff to com­plete ad­di­tional as­sess­ments of the build­ing’s con­di­tion be­fore mov­ing for­ward.

The de­mo­li­tion of the Devon­shire Arena, lo­cated near Mul­grave Park, will pro­ceed once the Dart­mouth four-pad is up and run­ning. The prop­erty will then likely be re­tained for mu­nic­i­pal recre­ational use.

The Ger­ald B. Gray Memo­rial Arena in Dart­mouth was cat­e­go­rized as “com­mu­nity in­ter­est” and the dis­posal process for the prop­erty will be­gin im­me­di­ately.

Mean­while, the Bowles Arena is be­ing cat­e­go­rized as “ex­tra­or­di­nary” and staff were di­rected to give no­tice to the prop­erty owner next door that it is now sur­plus to mu­nic­i­pal re­quire­ments.

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