Nova Scotia

Halifax to sell St.Pat's-Alexandra school

Halifax regional council has voted to turn a contentious school site over to a developer.
Local groups wanted to use the school site for community purposes. (CBC)

Halifax regional council has voted to turn a contentious school site over to a developer.

The council had initially agreed to sell St. Patricks-Alexandra School to Jono Developments. It reversed itself under pressure from the community two weeks ago.

The issue was back to council Tuesday, and councillors voted 13-10 to sell it to Jono to turn the site into condominiums.

The CBC's Pam Berman said it was a long, tense debate. Some councillors said the non-profit groups interested in the building should have been given 90 days to present their case.

The majority of the council decided the best way forward for the community was to sell the site to the developer.

'Emotional roller coaster'

Joe Metlege, president of Jono, said it was a good development. 

"It's been an emotional roller coaster, that is for sure. It's too early to tell — certainly it has been a significantly longer process than we had ever imagined it should be — but so far it's working out ultimately how we had hoped it will," he said after council voted.

The matter is not over. To sell the site to Jono, council must meet again and vote to rescind its policy on surplus buildings and non-profit groups.

Councillors voting Yes:

  • Jerry Blumenthal
  • Darren Fisher
  • David Hendsbee
  • Debbie Hum
  • Bill Karsten
  • Peter Kelly
  • Gloria McCluskey
  • Linda Mosher
  • Jim Smith
  • Steve Streatch
  • Sue Uteck
  • Russell Walker
  • Mary Wile

Councillors voting No

  • Jackie Barkhouse
  • Barry Dalrymple
  • Robert Harvey
  • Brad Johns
  • Peter Lund
  • Lorelei Nicholl
  • Tim Outhit
  • Reg Rankin
  • Dawn Sloane
  • Jennifer Watts

The repeal of any municipal policy requires seven days' notice, meaning the soonest it could happen is next Tuesday.

The community groups plan to meet with their lawyer to discuss their next step.

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 fight is not over. We wouldn't have come this far if we were simply prepared to sit in the council chambers and accept the decision," said Jane Maloney of the health clinic.

"They haven't followed their own process."

The developer has 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.