The sun is shining. There’s a warm breeze. The work week is slipping away and you’re on a downtown patio ready to raise a cold one in a salute to summer.
And then it happens. One of the 75 multi-ton mammoths running back and forth into the Nova Centre construction site daily, roars past sending a rooster-tail of dust spinning into the sky. Before you can say “convention centre prosperity,” your group is out the door, headed down Sackville in search of less dusty eatery.
There’s no doubt Argyle Street will be noisier this summer as the mega-project hits its stride, but Paul MacKinnon, executive director of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission, says with special lighting, art exhibits and storey-high scaffolding to mitigate construction disruptions, the area will maintain its entertainment district appeal.
“Something interesting can happen at the intersection of contentment and construction,” says MacKinnon. “We are going to do mini-festivals and use projection screens. We will close up the street some nights to make it more pedestrian focused.”
HRM recently approved the plan, which was three years in the works.
Joe McGuiness, operator of Durty Nelly’s, says commission plans are the best way to mitigate the inconvenience. “Short-term pain for long-term gain” he says. “If we can survive the construction, we know we’ll do well after it.” If the $75,000 project is well received, MacKinnon said it could lead to the creation of innovative scaffolding installations around other construction projects.