Amherst Bank of Montreal building to be torn down
Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia had three weeks to come up with an alternative proposal
The Bank of Montreal building in downtown Amherst will be coming down after all.
Town council had given it a three week reprieve in January so the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia could come up with an alternative proposal.
"We really felt it was worth trying to save," said Joe Ballard, president of the heritage group.
The red sandstone building was built in 1904. It was designed by J.C. Dumaresq, who also designed the New Brunswick Legislature.
The plan to save it depended on receiving federal and provincial grants, which required municipal support.
"We need them [council] to come on board or we needed time to identify a local facilitator," said Ballard. "It's not something we could have done ourselves."
But town councillors were not convinced the proposal was sustainable.
"The plan that was provided did not outline how they were going to raise roughly $250,000 of the million dollars that was required," said Rob Small, the mayor of Amherst.
Small says the other concern involved finding a new owner and new purpose for the building. The town tried and failed in 2015 to sell the property.
The move disappoints those who wanted to save it.
"To have that gone is a real kick in the shins to the town," said Ballard.
Demolition of the BMO building will cost about $125,000. It's expected to torn down by the end of May.
Meanwhile, the town of Amherst received financial support for the renovation of another building in its downtown, the former town hall. The building will be turned into an innovation centre for new business as well as a community meeting place.
It's a $1.5 million dollar project. ACOA will provide $750,000, the province is giving $100,000 and the Credit Union will pay $200,000 for naming rights.
The town will cover the rest of the costs.