News / Halifax

YMCA, Hospice Halifax looking for millions from municipality

After making presentations to a Halifax committee, the two groups looking for $1.5 million and $1 million each, will have to make presentations to council as a whole.

A rendering of the YMCA building at the corner of South Park and Sackville streets.

Contributed / YMCA

A rendering of the YMCA building at the corner of South Park and Sackville streets.

Two groups currently building new facilities in Halifax went to a committee of regional council asking for money on Wednesday, and both groups will have to wait for an answer.

Council’s Audit and Finance Standing Committee heard presentations from Halifax Hospice and YMCA Halifax on Wednesday, asking for $1 million and $1.5 million each.

Halifax Hospice is building a facility next to the Atlantic School of Theology in South End Halifax, with the goal of providing free end of life care for Haligonians who don’t want to spend their last days in a hospital.

The 10-bed hospice residence on Francklyn Street, already under constriction, is going to cost about $6 million to build in total. It’s up to Halifax Hospice to raise that money, but the province will help pay operating costs once it’s up and running.

Halifax Hospice is asking for two payments of $500,000 from HRM, one in the 2019 budget year, and one in the 2020 budget year.

“I know that this is a big request from council in austere times,” hospice representative Dr. Robert Horton told the committee.

“But I’m very confident that this will lead to real dividends for our citizens down the road, and will make HRM a better place to live, and to die.”

The second presentation at the committee on Wednesday was from the YMCA, about its new building at the corner of South Park and Sackville streets.

HRM’s Design Review Committee approved the project, which also includes residential space being built by a private developer, in 2016.

At the time, YMCA thought it wouldn’t need HRM money, but circumstances have changed, and the total budget has risen 20 per cent to $37 million.

The YMCA said that happened because of general inflation, the Canadian dollar, and because Halifax is a “successful city,” with labour and materials becoming more in demand and therefore more costly.

The YMCA is asking HRM for $1.5 million in funding from the municipality to cover part of the rising budget gap ahead of the project's completion next year.

“I am very supportive of the project,” Coun. Steve Craig said, referring to both of the two projects. “I just don’t know how much, if any, I support it with municipal taxpayers’ money.”

Councillors on the committee didn’t vote for any specific action, but Craig said both applicants will make their pitch to regional council as a whole at a later, unspecified date.

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