Nova Scotia

Three houses near Halifax Honda dealership face demolition

Initially city officials said there was an application for a demolition permit of one of the properties. They have since confirmed that the application is to tear down all three addresses, although the permit has not yet been issued.  

Advocates say city needs affordable housing, not bigger car dealerships

The yellow, red and blue houses abut the Honda dealership. (Google Streetview)

Three more houses on May Street in north-end Halifax may soon be torn down.

In 2016, 17 properties were demolished on Fern Lane, May, McCully and Robie streets to make way for an expansion of the Colonial Honda car dealership. That sparked a "Homes not Hondas" protest group.

Dynamic Properties owns 5792, 5796 and 5800 May Street, which are three attached buildings. The director for the company is Rob Steele, who is also the CEO of the Steele Auto Group, which includes Colonial Honda.

Initially Halifax Regional Municipality officials said there was an application for a demolition permit of one of the properties. They have since confirmed that the application is to tear down all three addresses, although the permit has not yet been issued.  

'We could use that housing'

The move dismayed Jim Graham, the executive director of the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia.

"Could we use that housing? Yeah, we could use that housing," said Graham. "It is discouraging."

Graham said landlords are telling him that they are getting 12 calls for even bed-sitting units.

"The vacancy rate [for affordable housing] is not one per cent, it's zero," said Graham.

Lisa Roberts, the MLA who represents the May Street area, agreed that affordable housing units are not being replaced at the same rate they are disappearing.

"We don't need another lot in Halifax-Needham," said Roberts, "We have a whole lot of them."

A spokesperson for Colonial Honda said the company has purchased a two-storey, three-unit residential condominium building on May Street.

"The condo units involved were housed in a single building on the south side of May Street, adjacent to the Colonial Honda parking lot," the spokesperson said.

"Colonial plans to take down the building and expand the parking lot, which fronts on the Robie Street commercial corridor. This part of Robie is home to several auto dealership, service and repair centres."

City can't stop demolitions

An HRM planner wrote a report in 2016 that said council "does not have the ability to prohibit demolition."

HRM councillors are meeting Tuesday to discuss which affordable housing projects are eligible for the $8.7 million from Ottawa under the Rapid Housing Initiative.

Lindell Smith, the councillor for the area, said the zoning is also a factor.

"A lot of the residential properties and areas in the north end are actually zoned commercial," said Smith. "So I wish there were ways to protect it, but they own it and unfortunately they're deciding to take houses and put them into parking lots." 

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