The Halifax Forum is in need of big renovations, and those come with a big price tag — possibly to the tune of $60 million.
The future of the historic location on Windsor St. is up for discussion at Halifax Regional Council on Tuesday, as the city tries to decide how to move forward with plans to renovate and expand the aging structure.
Councillor Lindell Smith, who is on the board of directors for the Halifax Forum Community Association, said the price has increased considerably from the $38 million originally proposed by the association in 2013.
“It’s not totally out of line of what it’s worth, but it is a significant amount of money, and as a city we don’t have an infinite pot,” Smith said.
“It’s an important investment … but we definitely have to think about the budgeting impact.”
He said the $22-million hike can be attributed in part to inflation and increasing construction costs.
The 2013 proposal suggested tearing down the complex’s multipurpose facility and creating a third ice surface, modernizing and restoring the Forum’s facade and making other major renovations to existing areas.
“There’s a lot of issues with the building itself, but there’s also a lot of great things,” said Smith.
“The ice space is always booked, bingo is a huge, popular place, there’s the markets and the halls are always booked for events.”
An updated staff report floated ideas for extra recreation areas, including a swimming pool.
Improvements aside, the Forum — built in 1927 — simply isn’t up to 2018’s building code and accessibility standards. An investigation by Capital Management Engineering Ltd. detailed concerns over the building’s combustible roof, its lack of sprinkler coverage and its seat density compared to the number of exits.
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