Nova Scotia

Halifax's Cleveland Estate demolition continues

Demolition of the Cleveland Estate continued Monday after a stop-work order was lifted by the Department of Labour, just as city council prepares to discuss better protecting homes on Halifax's Young Avenue.

Stop-work order lifted Monday on Young Avenue mansion demolition

Peggy Cunningham is part of a group opposed to the demolition of the Cleveland Estate. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

Demolition of the Cleveland Estate continued Monday after a stop-work order was lifted by the Department of Labour, just as city council prepares to discuss better protecting homes on Halifax's Young Avenue.

The large home, known as the Wedding Cake House, is being torn down by developer George Tsimiklis to make way for a new development on the site.

A group called Save Young Avenue had been trying to save the home from demolition by asking the city to give it heritage status.

"These are really important historical homes," said Peggy Cunningham, a member of the group. "Part of the fabric of the city."

Work to demolish the Cleveland Estate resumed Monday. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

Cunningham said the group had been trying to save the home for months, but she felt they were given the runaround by city staff.

"I've never gone to people to try and get some help and some service and be so patronized, or spoken down to in such an insulting fashion as I have been by city staff," said Cunningham. 

City spokesperson Tiffany Chase couldn't address details of interactions between Cunningham and city staff, but said when it comes to approving development, the city must issue a permit if the application requirements are met.

"We have to work with the existing rules that are currently in place," Chase said, noting the city is currently reviewing its land-use bylaws.

"We are reviewing those policies, many of them were written a number of years ago, some in the 70s," Chase said. "So they are very old, and possibly don't reflect the current vision of our community members. So we are having those conversations with the community now."

The city is holding its second round of public consultation for its Centre Plan on Wednesday night at the Halifax Forum. 

On Tuesday, city council will also discuss whether to ask for a staff report looking at how best to establish protections for the heritage and character of historic Young Avenue.

Those protections could include a change to the land-use bylaws, or establishing a heritages conservation area. 

'Too little, too late'

For Cleveland Estates, at least, it's "too little too late," said Cunningham. "Developers have all the rights," she said. "Citizens seem to have very few." 

Cunningham noted more work needs to be done to save heritage homes all over the city. 

Following safety complaints last week, the Department of Labour issued a stop-work order at Cleveland Estates. It ordered more fall protection and appropriate safety and respiratory protection for the workers on the site.

Workers on site legally

Some workers were on the site over the weekend, but the department told CBC it had an officer on site and the order had not been violated. The order was lifted Monday and work resumed.

In an email, Tsimiklis's lawyer, Michael Moore, confirmed workers on site over the weekend were there legally. 

"Those working on the property over the past weekend were working legally on the site and suggestions to the contrary appear to be incorrect and may be an attempt by those opposed to the demolition of the home on the property to interfere with the demolition of the home on the property," said Moore.