Nova Scotia

Council rescinds St. Pat's-Alexandra sale

Community groups are celebrating after Halifax regional council rescinded its decision to sell the former St. Patrick's-Alexandra school site to a developer.
Rev. Rhonda Britton is thrilled with council's latest decision. (CBC)
A community leader is celebrating after Halifax regional council rescinded its motion to sell the former St. Patrick's-Alexandra school site to a developer.

Council reversed its decision in a vote early Wednesday. It will revisit the issue after reviewing a report on the sale prepared by municipal staff.

The reversal is a big relief for community groups that were against the sale in the first place.

"I feel wonderful. It's just so exhilarating at this late hour for council to come back and say, 'We need to do this over again,'" said Rev. Rhonda Britton, with the nearby Cornwallis Street Baptist Church.

"I think it restores some of the community's faith in council."

Council approved the sale of the property in central Halifax last month. Jono Developments Ltd. proposed a complex with both residential and commercial spaces.

Several community groups denounced the sale, arguing the municipality didn't allow a public consultation period as required.

The MicMac Native Friendship Centre and the North End Community Health Clinic were among the groups that wanted to move into the former school.

The developer said it would designate up to 10 per cent of the residential space for affordable housing and up to 10 per cent of the commercial area for community or non-profit use, but the groups said that didn't meet their needs.

The fate of the property remains unclear until council reviews the staff report.

"What we'd like to see is that the city tighten up some of its processes around being open and transparent prior to making any final decisions on awarding contracts," said Jeremy Jackson, the president of the Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia.

St. Patrick's-Alexandra school closed last year. (CBC)
"I think they could have saved a lot of time, effort and money on behalf of not only the developer but also the general public."

Joe Metlege, the president of Jono Developments Ltd., declined to comment on the situation on Wednesday.

Council did not discuss what will happen with St. Joseph's Children's Centre, the only tenant in the building. The centre was given until the end of the month to leave.

The operators of St. Joseph's Children's Centre said they believe their eviction notice still stands.