Town to commit $40,000 to fix BMO Building

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Tender to stabilize northeast corner of building, patch roof

Although it's far from a decision on its future, Amherst is going to make some repairs to stabilize the BMO building.

Although it's far from a decision on its future, Amherst is going to make some repairs to stabilize the BMO building.

AMHERST – Amherst is set to spend just under $40,000 to make necessary repairs to the former BMO building on the corner of Victoria and LaPlanche Street.

Council will accept a tender from Flagship Construction at its regular meeting on Monday to stabilize the northeast corner of the building, remove its chimney and patch the roof.

Three tenders were received for the work with Flagship’s coming in at $39,200 compared to $42,350 from Costal Reconstruction and $47,028 from Masontech Inc.

Deputy CAO Jason MacDonald said the repairs are being made, mainly for safety reasons and to prevent water from flowing into the building through the roof.

Amherst has made no decision on the future of the building that was the former home of the Amherst Police Department and was last used in the mid-1990s as the home of youth group Project Echo.

The town bought the building from a Halifax developer several years ago.

It issued a call for proposals earlier this year and has been talking to one possible user.

Coun. George Baker asked if the repairs would make the building usable right away, but MacDonald said the work is mainly to stabilize the building. The deputy CAO said it’s not close to being ready for occupancy.

Baker said if the town’s going to spend $40,000 to stabilize it, it should also get a price on what it will cost to demolish it. Deputy Mayor Terry Rhindress asked if the town is in a position to put it on the market and try to sell it.

Mayor Robert Small said it would be premature to talk about selling the building or how it will be used in the future.

“That’s a discussion we will have to have as a council at a later date,” the mayor said.

The town, the mayor said, is also working on a heritage strategy for its older buildings and it’s possible the building could be part of that strategy.

Earlier this year, the Cumberland Museum Society sent the town a letter calling on council to preserve the building as part o the town’s built heritage.

Its chairman Bill Fairbanks suggested tearing down the building would leave a gap in the smile of the downtown.

 

Organizations: BMO, Flagship Construction, Masontech Amherst Police Department Cumberland Museum Society

Geographic location: Victoria, LaPlanche Street, Halifax

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Recent comments

  • Another Thought
    May 22, 2014 - 19:01

    PLEASE TEAR IT DOWN!

  • Mr Chow
    May 22, 2014 - 15:13

    Ok I know this is better then putting another parking lot down town. But really how bad we afford this. There is no companies coming to town and in another few years it will be another issue.

  • Jim G
    May 22, 2014 - 09:37

    This is a challenging position . A very nice unique building that is uneconomical to keep. The taxpayers should not have to pay for this but a solution to save it is required. One way to save it is to give a property tax break for 10 years and then phase in to full taxes over 5 more years. This could entice a private company to take it on. Should be a local person or company or someone familiar with area. Otherwise this property will be a money pit for the town or an empty lot generating little property tax revenue and having a determental effect on the rest of the downtown. Maybe someone else has some ideas.