New Brunswick

Chris Collins pushes for vote on future of former Moncton High

A Moncton MLA is questioning why the city is taking so long to vote on a plan to save the old Moncton High School.

U-Haul warehouse and cultural centre still possibilities for old Moncton High School

Moncton High School is costing the provincial government roughly $20,000 a month to heat. (CBC)

A Moncton MLA is questioning why the city is taking so long to vote on a plan to save the old Moncton High School.

Moncton Centre Liberal MLA Chris Collins wants to know why Moncton council hasn't voted on whether it will support the plan to save the old high school.

"Moncton High school is a cultural, historical and architectural icon for the city of Moncton. It definitely deserved to be saved," he said.

Collins supports MH Renaissance Inc., a group that wants to turn the 80-year old building into a cultural centre.

"We need the council to support this," he said.

"The proposal has been there for a year but we need to do this now so that we can have this council vote this before the municipal election, otherwise we are moving any decision aback to fall."

The proposal, MH35, includes a controversial plan to move the Moncton Public Library into the former school.

Another proposal for the building has been submitted to the province by U-Haul. The company wants to turn the school into a warehouse.

In the meantime, the province is spending $20,000 a month to heat the building.

Deputy Mayor Shawn Crossman said he's not sure what the holdup is.

"They [U-Haul] have made an offer to buy the building from the province. Would I consider U-Haul? No. That's currently community-used land," Crossman said.

"There is a lot of heritage in that building and there is a lot of history in that building."

The building was constructed in 1935 and paid for by city taxpayers at a cost of $480,000, said Crossman.

The Moncton Centre MLA said it's important for the city to make a decision.

"Right now it's just U-Haul on the table we need to get MH35 proposal on the table. It just can't wait. It's not fair to U-Haul to have to wait for the other proposal either," said Collins.

Crossman also said that U-Haul is not being taken into consideration by city council right now, and  the MH35 proposal is in the hands of city council as well as finance department.

Sarah Bustard, a Department of Transportation and Infrastructure spokesperson, said in an email to CBC News that the department is working with all potential developers and the City of Moncton.

"To insure any prospective purchaser has the financial capability to redevelop the property into a development that is economically sustainable," she said.

However, the provincial government won't sell the property unless the proposal is supported by the city.  

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