Nova Scotia

Is the mouldy Dennis building worth saving?

The fate of a landmark building in downtown Halifax is in doubt.

The fate of a landmark building in downtown Halifax is in doubt.

Dennis Building was evacuated three months ago when air quality tests showed higher than normal mould levels. Now officials are trying to determine how much the repairs will cost and if it’s worth saving.

The building on the corner of Granville and George streets remains empty and officials said it's likely to stay that way until at least next spring.

The mould problem is contained, but the building has no insulation

"The mechanicals, the elevators, the exterior of the building, the interior walls, as you've seen there's no ventilation system here, no air conditioning. Very hot and stuffy on the upper floors. If we were to modernize the building so to speak or do something else we would need to think about all of that," said Paul LaFleche, the deputy minister in charge of the building’s repair.

He said there's no price tag yet on the repairs. He added there are no plans to demolish the building, yet.

"Anything is an option from A to Z," he said.

A national heritage group has listed the Dennis Building on its top 10 endangered building list. The Heritage Canada Foundation would like to see it saved from the wrecking ball.

The province said it will continue to test for mould and itemize all the work that needs to be done to make the building habitable for civil servants again.

Senior bureaucrats are hoping to have a report ready by late fall. Then it will be up to cabinet to decide the fate of the landmark building.

The Dennis Building was built in the 1860s, but was completely remodelled after a fire gutted the premises in 1912.