This week Halifax Regional Council heard from the province about the QEII Health Sciences Centre New Generation project—a result of pressure from councillor Waye Mason for more clarity on expansions of the QEII site that could see a large parkade built beside the Museum of Natural History on Summer Street.
The need for parking, explained John O'Connor, executive director of major infrastructure projects at the province's department of transportation and infrastructure renewal, is a significant part of the plan. Changes to the current QEII buildings—even with underground parking put underground—will still leave the hospital short of spots for the estimated 14,000 people who visit the QEII each day.
O'Connor says the process that was in motion to have the original parkade built is now on hold, as HRM and the province look for a new solution. CAO Jacques Dube says there are about six options in the works right now to keep the parkade off Halifax Common land.
And councillor Sam Austin asked whether or not the province would consider taking advantage of the Employee Transit Pass through the Smart Trip program to incentivize staff to take transit to work. "You guys have a parking problem," Austin said. "This seems to me like a good match." The NSHA's Paula Bond said they would "look at all options available."