$1M for new Y facility faces push back, but will head to Halifax council

The grant would help the YMCA purchase its new facility, which is located on the corner of South Park and Sackville Street in Halifax. Construction began in 2017 and it is expected to open in late 2019.

Grant would help YMCA with new facility being built at corner of South Park and Sackville Street

The new YMCA facility at the corner of South Park and Sackville Street in Halifax is expected to open in late 2019. (Submitted by YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth)

Halifax regional council will decide whether to spend $1 million on the YMCA's new facility after the municipal finance committee voted Monday in favour of the move, even as some councillors pushed back against the proposal.

The grant would help the YMCA with its new facility, which will be located on the corner of South Park and Sackville Street in Halifax. Construction began in 2017 and it is expected to open in late 2019.

"It's unbudgeted," said Coun. Steve Adams. "When they came forward in the 2012 public hearing, they said it would be no cost to HRM if they got consideration for the additional height of the building. Now they want $1 million."

A report to the committee said in 2011 the cost of the project was expected to be $31 million, funded through the sale of land, fundraising and provincial and federal government money. The cost has since risen to $36.5 million, something being blamed on inflation, currency rates and construction demand.

Other projects

The committee's decision comes a week after the city's community planning committee moved a proposal to regional council for $1 million to help fund a new performing arts centre in downtown Halifax.

On Monday, the finance committee rejected a recommendation from staff on how to fund a $500,000 grant to the Hospice Society of Greater Halifax for the construction of a residential hospice facility at 618 Franklyn St.

The grant was approved in October by regional council, but the details of where the money would come from were left to the finance committee.

"I can't in clear conscious lend my support," Coun. Bill Karsten, who said the matter is a provincial one, not municipal. "It's so confusing for the councillors to suggest they are only approving the money side of it. If you don't approve the overall arching conditions behind the money, how can you support it?"

Coun. Steve Craig said the request needs to go back to regional council for a full discussion.

"The mandate of this committee is to look at the funding sources. Not whether we agree with the merits of whatever it is."

Craig said the hospice funding will have to be discussed during the budget debates in the new year.