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Community coalition ready with business plan for contested school site

NCCC informs community on St. Patricks Alexandra proposal

by Scott Barber

The St Pat's Alexandra building.  A coalition of community organizations wants to use the site for affordable housing and community use. Photo Halifax Media Co-op
The St Pat's Alexandra building. A coalition of community organizations wants to use the site for affordable housing and community use. Photo Halifax Media Co-op
A meeting was held on Thursday November 7th to brief the community.  Photo Scott Barber
A meeting was held on Thursday November 7th to brief the community. Photo Scott Barber

K'JIPUKTUK (Halifax) - The North Central Community Centre (NCCC), a coalition of North End community organizations, presented their plans for the former Saint Patrick's Alexandra school to the community. The meeting took place at the Mi'kmaq Native Friendship Centre this past Thursday.

These plans will now be formally submitted to the City before the deadline of November 12.

This is the latest step in a process that saw the city reverse an original decision to award the right to develop the old school to a private developer.

The NCCC is made up of the Mi'qmaq Native Friendship Centre, the North End Community Health Centre and the Richard Preston Centre for Excellence, an organization closely associated with the Cornwallis Street Baptist Church.

All organizations have deep ties to the community.

Having already secured a mortgage, the NCCC appears to be the only non-profit submitting a business plan to HRM.

Pamela Gloade-Derochers of the Mi'qmaq Native Friendship Centre provided introductions and Elder Tom Christmas shared the opening and closing prayers in Mi'kmaw and English.

Dr. Casey of the North End Community Health Centre described the vision of NCCC for people to remain in the North central area in the face of encroaching development. “This could really be a model for other communities. We have diversity, we have common goals, we have a business plan that's going to move us forward...”

Central to the business plan is the creation of affordable housing, and opportunity for home ownership while creating equity for the community project. Casey stressed the ongoing consultation with community members as the project progresses, and the tremendous opportunity for the diverse community to work together for a shared future.

Rev. Rhonda Britton of the Cornwallis Baptist Church spoke of developing the full potential of youth. In addition to arts, culture and education opportunities for youth, she sees workforce preparation, adult education, and leadership development - raising people up so they can invest back into the community, “building capacity” for sustainability.

“We know that everything we do will be beneficial not only to this community, but to the city as a whole because if you have healthy communities, you build a healthy city,” Britton said. “We're not just developing land, we're developing people... that is the legacy we want to leave for our children and for our children's children.”

While speaking of the need for the Mi'kmaq Native Friendship Centre to move from it's current location on Gottingen Street, Gloade-Derochers was excited about improving existing programs and services, and implementing projects such as apprenticeship programs. She spoke passionately of the MNFC keeping it's own place through alliance with it's neighbours. “ This is your community, this is my community and we're going to make a difference,” Gloade-Derochers said.

As Elder Tom Christmas noted, it was this unity that brought him around to supporting the proposal to reclaim the St. Patrick-Alexandra site.

 

Listen to a recording of the meeting or download for later (link above.)

The NCCC may be contacted through it's Chair, Dr. Casey via email: margaret.casey@dal.ca or contact the North End Community Health Centre (902) 420-0303) on Gottingen Street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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