Members of a collection of community group fighting for the right to bid on the former St. Patrick's-Alexandra School in Halifax say a recent consultant’s report released by the city skews things in favour of tearing down the building and selling the land to developers.
"They have painted the worst possible picture for the building," said Rev. Rhonda Britton from the Cornwallis Street Baptist Church. She’s been fighting to keep the space public.
The report estimates the decaying building needs $15 million worth of repairs.
Britton points out the building was used as a school two years ago.
"Our children were just in there, so were they in a school under these deplorable conditions? Up until a year and a half ago you had St Joseph’s daycare paying rent to be in that building." she said.
A city spokeswoman said that’s "a school board matter."
The Halifax Regional School Board declared the school surplus in 2008 and made a deal to sell the property to a developer. Several community groups challenged the move in court, and a judge struck down the deal in September.
City officials then ordered the assessment report.
"We thought it would be helpful for them to have a current idea of the state of the building," said communications officer Janet Bryson.
Britton and her associates said the building costs would be $5.2 million if sold to a developer, showing the report comes with an agenda.
"You seem to be working to influence council that it’s not a good idea," she said.
The city denies the accusations.
City officials begin meetings with community groups this week.
They'll also tour the building.