New Brunswick

Mount Allison injunction decision coming Friday

A New Brunswick judge will decide by Friday whether to grant an injunction against Mount Allison University to halt the plan to demolish the old Memorial Library.

Alumni are hoping to protect the historic Memorial Library

Alumni members placed crosses outside of the Memorial Library at Mount Allison University during a protest in Septemer. (Kate Letterick/CBC)

A New Brunswick judge will decide by Friday whether to grant an injunction against Mount Allison University to halt the plan to demolish the old Memorial Library.

A group representing 1,600 alumni went to court on Tuesday to seek an injunction to stop the university from tearing down the library, which was built in 1927 to honour students and graduates who died in the First World War.

Mount Allison University’s Board of Regents gave its approval for the construction of a $30-million performing and fine arts centre on Sept. 23.

The university has said it will save elements of the history building to be used around the new centre.

The library became a student centre in the 1970s, but it has been vacant for the last four years.

The university then launched a fundraising campaign to find money that would fix the building and turn it into a centre for the fine and performing arts.

Bruce Coates said he another former graduate became upset when that initiative turned into a campaign to replace it with a new building.

"I think the money was collected under false pretence because the [fundraising] campaign literature said that the building was to be retained," Coates said.

The lawyer for the alumni argued the university has a duty to preserve the building as a war memorial.

They say the money was given for that purpose and the university can't use it anything else.

The university's lawyer argued while alumni are entitled to their opinions, the university's board has the power to decide which buildings are built or torn down.

David Stewart, a vice president at Mount Alison University, said he believes the alumni understood what the money was going to fund.

"There have been no donations that have been given to this project, the fine and performing arts centre project, from people who don't understand what our plans are for the centre," Stewart said.

The alumni held a protest last month in an effort to save the library before the univesity's board of regents met to discuss the library's future.