Nova Scotia

Halifax group wants heritage designation for Young Avenue building

Halifax's Heritage Advisory Committee had a rush order on their agenda on Wednesday concerning a property in the city's south end threatened with the wrecking ball.

Heritage Advisory Committee rushed 851 Young Ave. onto their agenda so it can be reviewed by council sooner

People who live near 851 Young Ave. say the old Cleveland Estate was just sold to a developer who plans to replace it with several row houses. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Halifax's Heritage Advisory Committee had a rush order on their agenda on Wednesday concerning a property in the city's south end threatened with the wrecking ball. 

"We rushed to get 851 Young Ave. on the agenda because it's in jeopardy of being demolished over the next coming days and weeks," said Deputy Mayor Matt Whitman, a committee member.

The committee voted to move the Young Avenue site ahead of three other potential heritage sites in order to have Regional Council look at granting the property heritage status.

"That heritage acclamation comes with a staff report that comes with age, the architecture and significance of the property," Whitman said. "That's a lot to have happen in the next 10 to 12 days."

Time is definitely not on the committee's side.

'Trying to expedite'

People who live in the area who've formed a group called Save Young Ave, say 851 Young Ave. — often referred to as the wedding cake house — was just sold to a developer who plans to replace it with several row houses.

Early Wednesday evening, a crew of workers were putting the finishing touches on the removal of a stone wall surrounding the home.

A fence will go up around the property before the end of the week.

A crew of workers finish removing a stone wall surrounding the home on Wednesday. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Peggy Cunningham is a member of of the Save Young Avenue group. She listened in on the committee meeting and liked what she heard. 

"I am encouraged that the committee cares and they're trying to expedite an action and move it on to city council," she said.

But Cunningham says she's not getting her hopes up on the property being saved.

"The owner has rights and the owner can do certain things but it has been tragic seeing a 100-year-old wall brought down," Cunningham said.

"City wheels turn very slowly and developers can move very quickly, so we're at a real paradox here."

Waiting on developer's reaction

Michael Moore, a lawyer for the property's current developer, George Tsimiklis of Dino Capital Ltd., said his client will not be commenting. 

Whitman is bracing for the developer's reaction to the committee's last minute move to try and save the property — if and when it comes. 

"I think he'll be upset but we're trying to do what's in the best interest of the community and at least give this building a fair shake," said Whitman.

"He would have bought the property with the complete intent of building something else there."

About the Author

Paul Palmeter is an award-winning video journalist born and raised in the Annapolis Valley. He has covered news and sports stories across the province for 30 years.