Businesses taking legal action over construction of Halifax megaproject

HALIFAX – Construction woes are commonplace in any city, but some small businesses in downtown Halifax have reached a breaking point with a megaproject being built on their doorstep.

Several businesses are threatening legal action to recoup losses they claim are the result of the “prolonged construction” of the Nova Centre, Wagners Law Firm said Monday.

A news release from the firm said businesses in the area around the new convention centre have suffered over the past three years as construction has closed streets, eliminated parking and reduced pedestrian traffic.

It said the project has experienced delays, and businesses have had to cope with the noise, dirt and dust associated with blasting and drilling.

“We want to see a vibrant downtown core. That was one of the driving factors behind the project itself,” said lawyer Ray Wagner in the release.

“Ironically, due to poor planning and implementation, and a disregard for the realities of the impact the prolonged construction has had on small businesses, the Nova Centre is destroying the surrounding long-standing businesses as it rises up to dominate the area.”

Construction on the one-million-square-foot centre, which is expected to open next year, started in January 2013.

Wagners said attempts to communicate the negative impacts with Nova Centre stakeholders have been “unfruitful,” so some businesses have decided to take legal action.

The firm said compensation is being sought for personal and business damages resulting from the construction of the centre.

It said damages would be determined by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board if the parties cannot agree on compensation through negotiation proceedings.

The news release said municipal, provincial and federal governments have received notice of the intended legal action, as well as Argyle Developments Inc., its parent company Rank Incorporated and Halifax Convention Centre Corporation.

Joe Ramia of Rank Incorporated, the Nova Scotia government and the federal government could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday.

Officials with the Halifax Regional Municipality confirmed they had been notified about the intended legal action, but would not comment further.

The Halifax Convention Centre Corporation also declined comment.

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