Notifications

Surplus buildings cost HRM big bucks to maintain

City managers in the Halifax Regional Municipality say surplus buildings that haven't been disposed of have significant costs — and that's money that could be used to balance the city's books.

CAO Richard Butts says 2 properties alone cost more than $1M to maintain

St. Patrick's Alexandra is one of the surplus properties CAO Richard Butts says cost HRM a lot to maintain.

City managers in the Halifax Regional Municipality say surplus buildings that haven't been disposed of have significant costs — and that's money that could be used to balance the city's books.

HRM officials are taking a hard look at all the buildings the municipality is currently using.  

HRM's Chief Administrative Officer Richard Butts said the city needs to find an additional $30 million over the next three years.  

Butts told council dealing with municipality's surplus property list could help.   

“Two facilities that we're looking at now cost us a million dollars a year [and] are closed — [the cost is] simply for security and to keep the places heated,” he said.

The two facilities Butts is referring to are St. Patrick's Alexandra and St. Patrick's High School.

In August, staff listed 60 surplus properties ranging from small parcels of land to former schools and recreation centres.

The list is about to grow — five fire stations have just been decommissioned and all 300 municipal buildings are under review.  

“We're starting to take a look aggressively at how many of those buildings we actually need. Those buildings put a lot of pressure on our budget and a lot of them are underutilized,” said Butts.

Surplus properties in Halifax have to go through a new internal review to see if either a city department or a community group could use them.  

St. Pat's High School is being assessed.

There's already community interest in the West Chezzetcook Elementary School, the Bell Annex building in Cole Harbour and St. Pat's Alexandra.   

To date only three city properties have made it onto a for sale list.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.