Group trying to save 125-year-old Halifax house gets reprieve

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Dalhousie University's plan to demolish a house on Edward Street is on hold. (Paul Palmeter/CBC - image credit)
Dalhousie University's plan to demolish a house on Edward Street is on hold. (Paul Palmeter/CBC - image credit)

A 125-year-old house owned by Dalhousie University has been saved from demolition, for now.

A demolition permit was granted for the property on Edward Street this week.

But, following a special meeting of the Halifax Regional Municipality's heritage advisory committee on Friday, a request has been made to Halifax regional council that could lead to the house being registered as a heritage property.

"Everyday we've been opening up the curtains in the morning to see if the house is still there," said Peggy Walt, an Edward Street resident.

Walt organized a petition signed by more than 5,700 people who wanted to see the house spared from demolition.  "This touched a nerve with a lot of people," Walt said.

The vote by the committee was unanimous. It concludes what has been a tumultuous week at the house.

The municipality issued two orders to stop work at the site after crews started prep work for asbestos abatement inside the house. But the work continued.

On Tuesday, officials with the Nova Scotia Department of Labour visited the site and filed another compliance order that forced crews to seal the building and stop working.

Paul Palmeter/CBC
Paul Palmeter/CBC

On Thursday, the company contracted by Dalhousie was granted the demolition permit. Friday's vote puts that on hold.

The university is not pleased with how events have unfolded.

"While there are many important aspects associated with protecting buildings that have genuine heritage value, Dalhousie does not believe 1245 Edward Street meets those criteria," Gitta Kulczycki, vice-president finance and administration at Dalhousie, said in a statement.

"Dalhousie's goal is to build a sustainable, accessible campus that supports modern housing options that contribute to greatly needed supply, with buildings that are developed to high standards of safety, efficiency, and accessibility. 1245 Edward Street does not meet these objectives."

The university said it will work with regulatory bodies to ensure the building is secure from an environmental and public safety perspective while respecting proper processes and procedures.

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