Quick update on the new site, plus: lawsuit over Nova Centre

Construction of Nova Centre continues in downtown Halifax. A provincially granted exemption allowing the developer to bypass city planning rules is the subject of a  lawsuit filed Thursday.

Construction of Nova Centre continues in downtown Halifax. A provincially granted exemption allowing the developer to bypass city planning rules is the subject of a lawsuit filed Thursday.

Things are taking longer than expected, but we are making great progress. The site itself is working as it should, with all the glitches fixed. I’ll be spending the next few days playing around with it, learning how to use it, getting comfortable with it. The plan is to launch the site with a video announcement, and we’ll be shooting that next week. It’s a bit difficult getting everyone on the same schedule, but it’s coming together. I now expect to launch in the first week of June.

In the meanwhile, some news. Yesterday the Thiel family, which owns the TD Centre, the Bank of Montreal building, and the Royal Bank tower, filed suit against the province. The Thiels say that by granting the Nova Centre an exemption from the usual planning rules of the city, the province gave unfair competitive advantage to Argyle Developments, Joe Ramia’s company that is building the Nova Centre, which includes the convention centre, a hotel, and a commercial office building.

The Thiels, for their part, own about 10 percent of the commercial office space downtown, and have an approval to construct a new development called 22nd Commerce Square, which includes 200,000 square feet of Class A office space and “a small conference centre.”

Here’s the suit (thanks to Evan d’Entremont for combining the PDF):

thiellawsuit

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4 comments

  1. Re the lawsuit, if HRM did propose the means and method of circumventing the lengthy amended-permit process – and it appears it did, with Council’s later ratification – it was complicit in securing preferential treatment for Argyle. Obviously done to protect HRM and provincial interests, it’s nevertheless an ‘insider’ tactic, offensive on its face. It appears the province is legally protected by its relevant, mile-wide statutes, but it reeks of self-serving corruption. It’ll be fascinating to read a judge’s ruling and comments.

  2. One who writes and holds authority over a regulation may well amend it or at times even set aside that regulation if that authority has the legal right to do so; I guess that will be for the courts to decide.

  3. I made a few attempts since 2011 at launching an online news website in Charlottetown. My first attempt gained a lot of attention. I received over 100,000 unique hits in under two months. But getting people to keep their commitments to help out was near impossible without regular monetary incentives…everybody wants to get paid, for obvious reasons.

    I really hope you can make a go of the site on Halifax. You have my email address should you ever want to expand your offerings to Charlottetown, or if you need someone on PEI to cover something.

    Best of luck, Tim!

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