Delay in getting construction permit stymies fitness centre expansion

·2 min read
Connie McInnes stands in the space where she wants to open a new spin studio in Halifax.  (Paul Palmeter/CBC - image credit)
Connie McInnes stands in the space where she wants to open a new spin studio in Halifax. (Paul Palmeter/CBC - image credit)

The owner of three fitness centres in the Halifax Regional Municipality says her plans for a fourth location are being swallowed up red tape.

Connie McInnes operates Rstudios and is now leasing a property on Kempt Road in Halifax and has plans to turn it into a spin studio. But getting a permit to move forward with her expansion is proving to be difficult.

"We've been on a halt for the last two months waiting on our construction permit," said McInnes.

Certain aspects of the renovation have been done, but work on plumbing, electrical and ventilation systems is on pause and McInnes doesn't know when she'll be getting the permit from the municipality to allow her to move forward.

"We've got a business that is ready to rock and I've got employees that are ready to rock," said McInnes. "But I don't exactly have a space that's ready to rock."

Getting plumbing systems up and running is one of the many items on hold until a permit is granted.
Getting plumbing systems up and running is one of the many items on hold until a permit is granted. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

McInnes has more than 20 employees on standby, some whom are on federal government benefits for people out of work due to COVID-19. They want to get to work as soon as possible.

She's also purchased new spin bikes and flooring for her new spin studio but they are currently being stored in the back of the building. McInnes is desperate to get her permit.

"Until we have that approval it's impossible for us to move forward and actually get our doors open."

Much work needs to be done to transform this space into a spin studio.
Much work needs to be done to transform this space into a spin studio. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

McInnes said it's also been very frustrating getting information from the municipality. She said communication has been poor and she doesn't know if she'll get her permit in four days or four months.

HRM is currently in a housing and development boom, with large and small construction projects intertwined throughout the municipality.

Earlier this month, Jacques Dubé, Halifax's chief administrative officer, stated he wants to use the hot housing market to pay for 15 new HRM employees.

A final vote on the proposal will take place on April 21, when regional council deals with a long list of budget extras, including a dozen extra employees for the planning department to reduce wait times for development permits.

The construction industry has been extremely busy because of a boom in the Halifax housing market.
The construction industry has been extremely busy because of a boom in the Halifax housing market. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

"I think for those of us who are taking a risk and trying to move forward and keep our heads up, we are just feeling really discouraged," said McInnes.

HRM spokesperson Klara Needler stated in an email that several reviews are now complete in the McInnes application. She went on to say it is progressing as expected, given the high volume of applications typically received this time of year.

MORE TOP STORIES