The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has announced that the Province of Nova Scotia has an agreement in principle with Banc Properties for ownership of Exhibition Park in Halifax. The Atlantic Marine Trades Association (AMTA) was quick to notify it's members of the news.
The venue accommodates a variety of regional consumer trade shows, including the annual Halifax International Boat Show, which typically takes place in February.
The agreement comes with the stipulation that the facility will be renovated and operated as an exhibition centre for a minimum of eight years. This is being welcomed by the Exposition Managers Society of Nova Scotia, which represents all of the major, privately operated shows and events that take place annually at Exhibition Park.
In September, the Society warned that if the facility was closed, their industry would effectively be shut down with a more than $12 million annual hit to the Halifax economy alone and significant job losses.
"The announcement does not come as a surprise,' said Society Chairman Jim Gourlay of the Saltscapes Group. "When the file was taken over in September by Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Geoff MacLellan, the industry was invited to become part of the transition process. With the exception of the actual selection of the winning bid, we have been involved every step of the way.
"The building needs to be renovated and upgraded – that will happen. The parking lot needs to be repaved – that will happen. The facility needs to be aggressively marketed to rebuild and grow the events industry – we are optimistic that will happen as well.'
Gourlay says the events industry has committed to assisting the new owner in hitting the ground running, especially since the window of opportunity to get the work done and get organized for the 2016 season is now extremely tight.