The Halifax waterfront has come a long way since the 1950s, when ordinary citizens could barely access the water.
The boardwalk was expanded this summer, meaning the wooden planks stretch almost the entire three kilometres from Pier 21 to Casino Nova Scotia.
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Colin MacLean, CEO of the Waterfront Corporation, took Metro on a virtual tour of the present and near future.
He started with the recently refurbished Cable Wharf. The home of Murphy’s on the Waterfront is finishing a $2-million upgrade that allows it to stay open year-round.
“What we anticipate to see in the spring is joint work we’re going to do on an interpretive program,” MacLean says.
The public boardwalk around Murphy’s will draw attention to its roots as the site where telecommunication cables started their trans-Atlantic journey. Titanic victims were also temporarily stored there during the recovery operation.
“We’re going to try to bring that history to life,” he says.
The Salter Block Development next to Bishop’s Landing is in the “deep planning phase,” MacLean says.
The parking lot is to be turned into a hotel-apartment-commercial complex with a one-acre public park. The plans were slowed by the economic downturn, but he’s hopeful to see work beginning next year.
Big plans are in the works for the Cunard parking lot next door to the Nova Scotia Power headquarters that is also undergoing extensive rebuilding.
“We’re getting some consultants to help us think through what some of the options might be there,” MacLean says.
“The broad idea will be guided by HRMbyDesign. I suspect it will be more on the residential side.”
Like Bishop’s Landing, that will include commercial activity on the ground floor. In the meantime, the Waterfront Corp. is looking to expand the vendor kiosks on the waterfront. The food, beverage and souvenir shacks currently cluster around Queens Landing but may expand to the Cunard site until the area is redeveloped.
“We’ve had a number of people talk about that location, particularly with the increased number of cruise ship activity. It might provide some interesting entrepreneurial opportunities,” he says.
The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic has long been rumoured to be on the cusp of expansion, but Dave Denny of the province’s department of tourism and culture pours cold water on that idea.
“There’s been no decision of expansion of the MMA. That’s just not in the works at this point,” he says.