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N.S. Heritage Trust asks Halifax council not to demolish old memorial library


The Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia is expressing concern over a Halifax Regional Municipal Council agenda item that could demolish the old memorial library on Spring Garden Road.

A motion for council recommends they direct the chief administrative officer prepare a plan for the Halifax Memorial Library site, which includes “substantial and/or full removal of the building.” The motion also recommends budgeting $300,000 for consulting work on the plan.

“No clear, practical options related to the structure could be identified due to the constraints (of the 2020 Archaeological Resource Impact Assessment),” the motion report reads. “It is therefore recommended that, as an outcome of the consultant’s report, a process be initiated to substantially alter or remove the building under the Heritage Property Act and to then restore the property to its pre-1949 condition as a full park as consistent with the Crown Grant of 1882, with historical interpretation.”

In a news release, the Heritage Trust asked council to consider other options for the library.

“Rather than demolish the old library, the Trust is asking that Council should explore alternative public uses for the building,” the release reads. “Rather than allocating $300,000 solely to exploring how the site can be turned into (a) park, the scope of work, the Trust suggests, should also include exploration of such alternative public uses of the building.

“The Trust strongly encouraged Council to exhaust all possibilities for the Memorial Library before making the drastic and irreversible decision to demolish this important civic building.”

The release notes the library was built in 1951 and was the first post-war public building constructed in Halifax. An addition was built in 1974.

In February 2020 the building received municipal heritage status. Last November, the Heritage Trust proposed the library could be repurposed for public housing.

Council will discuss the motion at a regular meeting on Tuesday. 

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