FALL RIVER: Keeping the Seniors Friendly Centre in Fall River for the communities use might be more difficult than first thought—and it could all come down to dollars and cents.
At a public meeting, John Dalton, a real estate officer with HRM, informed the 15 community residents in attendance about the municipalities plan at selling the building, which was first opened in 1947. The building is among many that are on the surplus list that the municipality want off their books.
Dalton went over details of what he knew—and what HRM didn’t know—about the property, located at 1018 Fall River Road. It’s situated on 21,600 square foot of land.
“This has been a long-standing building used by the community,” Dalton told the crowd.
Community groups and functions such as the Saturday night jamborees; Alzheimer’s support group; and Lions Christmas Express Food drive use it. The LWF Ratepayers Association (LWFRA) also hold their meetings there.
There was no building condition report available for the location, said Dalton. It almost was as if it was the forgotten building that HRM owned—as they aren’t sure who delivers and pays for the oil to heat the building. It’s assessed value is $165,800 with the land valued at $60,500 and the building at $105,300.
“HRM is not looking at extracting maximum revenue from the building, but rather the maximum community use,” said Dalton.
There were applications available for those in attendance—some representing community groups and Fall River Business Association—to take back and discuss if they were interested.
Councillor Barry Dalrymple said the ratepayers would rather not take on its ownership in full.
“The LWFRA would prefer not to own it outright,” said Dalrymple.
He guesstimated that to operate the building yearly a community group would require $10,000 a year.
“That’s a big commitment,” said Faye Coady, representing FRABA.
There were a number of concerns with the building-whether it was up to code; if it had asbestos in it; the condition of the roof; and more.
Councillor-elect Steve Streatch said there seem to be a move afoot within HRM to put the onus for owning these community buildings back on the residents.
“I think the last thing we want to do is move to quick,” said Streatch. “It seems very unfortunate that it’s going back on the people as if HRM is running scared. It just doesn’t sit right with me.”
He said more information is needed—including the condition of the building—before he asks any community group to take responsibility for it.
Streatch agreed with Dalrymple the last thing they want to see is for the building to fall into the hands of someone that has “unwarranted intentions” for the property.
“The best interest of the community has to be the end game,” said Streatch.
Community groups have 120 days to submit their application proposal to HRM to take over ownership of the building, including a five-year plan.