News / Halifax

Halifax step closer to selling Khyber to organization

The Khyber building on Barrington Street.

Jeff Harper / Metro

The Khyber building on Barrington Street.

Despite a staff recommendation for more information from the group looking to buy it, Halifax regional council voted on Tuesday to start the process to sell the Khyber building on Barrington Street for $1.

The 1588 Barrington Building Preservation Society has been putting together a plan for years to take over the dilapidated building and restore it to its former glory as an arts and culture space.

Municipal staff weren’t satisfied that the society could raise the money it said it could in order to complete renovations and operate the building: $1.8 million in government grants and $1.7 from fundraising.

That planned government funding includes more than $300,000 from HRM for a fundraiser, operating costs and development permits.

The society says it needs to own the building to be able to raise the funds though, and council followed Deputy Mayor Waye Mason’s request to vote for an alternative.

Staff will now prepare a second report on the financial implications of the sale and proposed terms and conditions.

The building is appraised at about $1.5 million for property tax purposes.

Report on the way on bring housing in house

There were concerns about taking on a costly provincial responsibility, but council voted in favour of a report on bringing the responsibility for housing back under Halifax’s jurisdictional roof.

Deputy Mayor Waye Mason asked for the report, looking at transferring the responsibility for Housing Nova Scotia in the Halifax region to the municipality.

Coun. Tim Outhit, one of the councillors concerned about the potential costs of Halifax handling housing, added a friendly amendment to have the motion look at increasing municipal support for housing, not necessarily just taking it over.

Mason proposed that HRM would pay for housing by keeping some of the municipality’s property tax revenue that currently goes to the province for education.

Many councillors argued the province would jump at this deal, which would alleviate its housing costs.

The motion passed 13-3, with Councillors Nicoll, Adams and Streatch voting against it.

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