HALIFAX – A local organization with players in the tourism and hospitality industries says a developer is ready to buy and fix Exhibition Park.
“I can tell you that this is a very reputable company of proven performance,” said Jim Gourlay, executive director of the Exposition Managers Society of Nova Scotia.
The identity of the developer, a local company, isn’t being revealed yet.
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The property, which requires millions of dollars of repairs and upgrades, is set to close in November. Subsequently, at least ten major events will not be held next year, including the Halifax International Boat Show, and Halifax RV Show.
“To make a major decision like this without understanding the economic ramifications is very concerning,” said Darleen Grant Fiander, Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia and member of the group, of the closure.
If Exhibition Park doesn’t reopen, it would lead to a local economic net loss of $12 million, according to the group.
The mystery developer, said to be able to get the repairs and upgrades completed cheaper than the government would be able to, has offered a bid at market value for a contract lasting at least eight years. Two letters about the plan have been sent to the provincial government.
“We are currently considering proposals for the property, and evaluation of those proposals is underway,” said Toby Koffman, Media Relations Advisor for Department of Business, adding that two proposals have been submitted so far.
There is no firm date set for when the decision will be made.
“We encourage all interested parties to get involved in the discussion, and a decision will be made in the best interest of Nova Scotians,” said Koffman.
The group would help the developer with administration and marketing, with the hope of doubling the number of events that can be held at the property.
“We’re not saying we’re going to do anything miraculous – simply put Halifax where it should be,” said Gourlay, who is also the president of Saltscapes Publishing Limited.
The group said it wants the government to make a decision within a week, and that if there is any hope for exhibition park to open by next spring, repairs need to be done before winter.