Skip to main content

HRM, developer reach deal about safety issues at Bloomfield site

It's a safe bet people in the Halifax North End will be seeing more activity at the old Bloomfield School site in the days ahead.

A scheduled hearing about serious safety concerns at the site before Nova Scotia's Utility and Review Board was essentially called off Tuesday after the city and the developer struck a deal.

However, details on that deal are scarce.

The two sides met privately in a conference room, delaying the scheduled meeting for a full hour.

The agenda was discarded after news of an agreement.

"We believe we have resolved both the stay application and the full appeal, and we've come an agreement between the parties," HRM lawyer Joshua Judah told NSURB board member Kathleen McManus.

The lawyer for property owner Alex Halef as just tight-lipped.

"I think Mr. Judah captured the discussions and the resolution that we're proposing today," said Richard Norman, before sitting down again.

Back in May, Halef made headlines when he told city officials he had no timeline to tear down the buildings because he didn't have the $2 million it would cost to demolish them.

The sprawling, decaying structures are also said to be home to a growing population of homeless people, especially as the weather turns colder.

In a report last month, the city's Fire Inspector noted a number of safety concerns for the public and the department.

Among them, falling brick facades, multiple emergency calls - mostly for fires set inside - and an unknown number of people living in the building.

In an email to a fire prevention officer on Oct. 3, Inspector Dustin Garnett said, "There is considerable risk to people occupying this building."

Ordered to conduct an assessment of the site, the owner filed an appeal a week later, triggering a suspension of the assessment, but the city fought back.

An originally scheduled hearing for December has now been pushed to a teleconference on Jan. 17.

Details on the agreement requested from HRM Communications were not received by news deadline.

The maximum penalty for an individual violating a fire safety order is $150,000 and/or two years in prison if there are aggravating circumstances.

$250,000 is the comparable fine for a company.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

Stay Connected