Nova Scotians are lining up in support of the historic Dennis Building. A petition with 1047 names was presented to the Legislature Friday, Oct. 31, by Lenore Zann, MLA for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River, and NDP critic for Communities, Culture and Heritage.
The petition asks “the Government of Nova Scotia to retain the historic T. & E. Kenny Dry Goods Building (Dennis Building) at the corner of George and Granville Streets in Halifax and not to demolish or dismantle it.”
“It is my belief that ‘progress’ in Nova Scotia does not preclude protecting, revitalizing and celebrating our historic buildings and heritage sites. Tourists come for the natural beauty, culture, and heritage. Preserving our past is essential if we want to earn a reputation as a truly ‘world class’ destination”, said Ms. Zann.
“I was reassured to hear Ms. Zann thank Minister Kousoulis in the House for his personal assurance that the Dennis building will not be demolished but refurbished instead,” commented Linda Forbes, President of the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia.
The Dennis Building is the oldest building around Province House Square. It was designed to complement Province House in 1863 by noted architect, David Stirling. It was an early example of accessible construction, with one entrance on George Street at grade.
Halifax and its Business in 1876 described this as a “magnificent granite warehouse”, and stated that “a well built granite structure is likely to endure as long as the world itself”. Indeed, recent structural engineering reports indicate that the basic structure is sound.
Hon. Labi Kousoulis, Minister of Internal Services, has stated that the government is considering transferring the building to the Nova Scotia Teachers Pension Fund.
Heritage Canada Expresses Concern:
Hon. Stephen McNeil
1726 Hollis Street,
Halifax, NS B3J 2Y3
Dear Premier McNeil,
As the national voice for the conservation of built heritage in Canada, Heritage Canada The National Trust is following with great concern recent media reports about the historic Dennis Building on Province House Square, which was included on our list of Top Ten Endangered Places in Canada in 2013.
According to media reporting, it appears that the future of this provincially-owned structure is uncertain.
This letter is to request your intervention to ensure that the Province follows a reasonable process of due diligence in this case. We have two specific recommendations in this regard:
1. There are heritage building professionals in your province qualified to undertake an appropriate structural assessment of the building. Obtaining this level of assessment would be a positive and proactive next step in advance of any potentially irreversible decisions about the building’s future. We would be happy to provide contact information for local heritage architects and engineers.
2. There may be developers with an interest in this property. A Request for Proposals process would give them a fair and open opportunity to come forward with creative solutions to rehabilitate and adapt the site. We would be pleased to assist the Minister of Internal Services in crafting an RPF that strikes the appropriate balance between heritage conservation and flexible new design and development.
Heritage and development are not mutually exclusive. The goal is to adapt and evolve our landmark buildings in a way that makes sense economically. We urge you to do what is
reasonable to ensure a future and continued use for a heritage building that has survived for more than 150 years at a landmark location across from Province House.
Thank you in advance for your intervention in this matter.
Heritage Canada The National Trust
613-237-1066 ext. 222
cc. The Hon. Labi Kousoulis, Minister of Internal Services