Nova Scotia

New P-12 francophone school pondered for Bloomfield site

Halifax regional council has decided to give the province 120 days to decide if it wants to build a new francophone school on part of the vacant Bloomfield site in the north end of the city.

The proposed P-12 school would serve francophone students in peninsular Halifax

A past redevelopment effort at the Bloomfield site in Halifax was plagued by delays and didn't end up happening. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

Halifax regional council has decided to give the province 120 days to decide if it wants to build a new francophone school on part of the vacant Bloomfield site in the north end of the city.

Councillors agreed Tuesday to delay redevelopment of the 1.3-hectare acre property so there could be negotiations with the provincial government.

Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (CSAP) is interested in building a new P-12 francophone school there for students in peninsular Halifax.

"School boards don't own schools, so we have to enter into an agreement with the province," said Coun. Lindell Smith.

The Bloomfield site is home to a former school and two other buildings. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Several supporters of placing a new francophone school at the site attended Tuesday's council meeting, including CSAP superintendent Michel Comeau.

"It's absolutely the first step that needed to happen," said Comeau, "There aren't many properties on the peninsula available, so hopefully the government will see the advantage of a francophone school to serve hundreds of families."

There has also been some recent interest in building a new junior high school for the Halifax Regional School Board on the Bloomfield site. But councillors pointed out that would be a provincial decision.

"It is not our decision to make," said Smith. "The school board that has the most need should get the site."

If a school is not built on the Bloomfield site, the land will be put on the market and affordable housing would be a component of the project.

In either case, one section of the property, which includes two buildings with heritage value, will be considered for community and cultural space.

Expensive fixes needed for Fielding building

A non-profit group, Imagine Bloomfield, is particularly interested in the Fielding building. Council asked staff to look into stabilizing the property while the community group comes up with a plan.

HRM manager Peter Sticking said the building is decommissioned and doesn't have a heating plant.

"It could require $4 million to reactivate it," he said.

A number of councillors don't want redevelopment of the site to get bogged down again. Housing Nova Scotia was supposed to build an affordable housing project on the site, but the province announced last year that it wasn't going ahead with redevelopment plans.


Pam Berman


Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to