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HRM studies Khyber’s future

The future of one of Halifax’s most iconic arts and music venues is being examined by HRM staff.

The future of one of Halifax’s most iconic arts and music venues is being examined by HRM staff.

A feasibility report on the Khyber, located at 1588 Barrington St., was released by the municipality yesterday. The report outlines five possible operating scenarios for the building, which will be examined by staff over the next four to six weeks. Staff recommendations will then be made to Halifax regional council.

Currently, HRM owns and operates the building while the Khyber Arts Society rents the second floor. Four of the possible scenarios maintain HRM ownership, with different possibilities for the building’s operation. One scenario has KAS taking over ownership and operation.

But KAS chair Garry Kennedy doesn’t think that is possible in the short term.

“That would be too much for us right now,” said Kennedy, noting the report states it would cost approximately $626,000 to bring the building up to code. “We just can’t even dream about something like that.”

Christine Lavoie of HRM’s Culture and Heritage Development acknowledges KAS doesn’t have the capital to take over the building now. But she said the report also mentions “evolution of options” — meaning KAS could work within one scenario with an aim to another.

“We know that financially (KAS) can’t do it right now,” Lavoie said. “But it doesn’t mean that they can’t do it in the future ... Maybe the option isn’t to pick A over B or C or D, maybe it’s over a period of time it moves from a scenario to the next.”

Whichever options are recommended to council, Lavoie stresses the Khyber is integral to the social, cultural and economic revitalization of Barrington Street and the downtown core.

“It’s like a springboard,” she said. “It would have a huge effect. It would be full of ... people who are creative and want to see things moving.”

 
 
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