Grafton Street through the Nova Centre has only been open to the public since January, but already the Grafton Street roadbed is crumbling.

You’ll recall that the city sold a one-block stretch of Grafton Street between Prince and Sackville Streets to Nova Centre developer Joe Ramia for $1.9 million on the condition that the city maintain an easement for a “vehicular and pedestrian passageway” through the Nova Centre. I’ve dubbed that passageway the “Grafton Street Glory Hole.”

Construction of the Nova Centre kept the Glory Hole closed, but it opened with much fanfare seven months ago.

Grafton Street was constructed somewhat in the fashion of Argyle Street — with paving stones. Argyle Street looks to be in good shape; I understand it was built by a different contractor.

Grafton Street through the Nova Centre, however, is a mess. I walked through the Glory Hole Thursday and saw hundreds of broken and chipped paving stones, gigantic spaces between the stones, and crumbing areas around the basins.

An engineer tells me that the problem is the street was designed wrong. There are “humps” so that water on the street will drain to the basins, but the humps are too extreme, such that there is a large gap between the stones at their tops but their bottoms push up against each other; as a result, when vehicles travel over the stones, the stones break apart. It’s clear the entirety of the street won’t last long.

Asked to comment on the street condition, city spokesperson Victoria Martin responded as follows:

The area below/through the Nova Centre which was once known as Grafton Street is private property. This area serves as a private driveway to the Nova Centre underground parking and throughway between Sackville and Prince. The property owner is required to maintain the area free and clear for emergency purposes. There are no requirements for the road bed structure itself that HRM would inspect.

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. Please find or share the precise wording of the public access rights through the Glory Hole, Tim. I keep wondering how much authority the Nova Center operator might have / not have over the public there. For instance can they prevent demonstrations, panhandlers, kittens sheltering from the rain, etc. Thanks!

      1. Reading that report is a sad reminder of how the reality differs from the plan everyone signed onto. The Grafton St. corridor is described as “a means to access retail, cafes and other public uses of the space to be established along its length.”
        “it was partly conceived as a public gathering space where different areas of the province might be showcased through means that might include electronic displays.”

        Compare that to the stark, uninviting, utilitarian, and now crumbling reality.