I would like to clarify misinformation about the sale of the Bloomfield property More specifically, I want to further clarify my involvement as Councillor with the sale. I will provide a brief timeline and address the present situation.
HRM has consulted the community repeatedly for fifteen years regarding Bloomfield. During this time there has been communication and involvement with residents and community members, and I thank all of those who have worked tirelessly to inform this process over the years.
Coming into this role as City Councillor, years after the process was initiated, I worked with residents and HRM staff to get to a place where the community would be included in whatever the future development would be. It was my Motions at Regional Council that ensured that:
- A minimum. of 10,000 sq ft’ of commercial market space, targeted to the creative industry;
- A minimum of 20,000 square feet of affordable community and cultural space be included;
- A minimum of 20% percent of the site be reserved for as open space, both public and private;
- That the Fielding Building be considered as the site for any cultural hub component;, and,;
- That 10% of the residential units on the site will be allocated to affordable housing.
These motions were informed by conversations with residents and community partners as well as the Bloomfield Master Plan. I met and spoke with various community members in-person and by phone, and received various correspondence on this case. I also supported the previous decision to wait until the Centre Plan process was complete before we put the property on the market in order to gather feedback from residents.
As HRM completes the due diligence and review stage of the disposal process, staff will be working with the potential purchaser to ensure they meet the conditions of sale and the principles of Centre Plan. Once a purchaser is chosen, there will still be a need for the purchaser to complete the Centre Plan’s level III public consultation process. This will give residents further input on any future development for the site.
I hope that this, and the information below will help clear up the misinformation that is being shared about transparency and the sale of the property. I will continue to work with willing community partners, and will continue to advocate for responsible development within District 8 and our City.
Process and timeline below (this timeline covers the highlights and not all events)
How does our disposal surplus property process (AO50) work? First, HRM staff identify municipal properties that are no longer of use to the municipality and make a public recommendation to the Council in public recommending whether to sell the property. With the Economic Development category, we can decide to make a general sale or sell to a community group or other level of government. If Council votes (in public session) to approve a market sale, a public Request For Proposal (RFP) is issued, again publicly. Once the RFP is completed, HRM staff come to Council (in-camera) with a recommended buyer for final approval. If approved,this information is made public.
- In 2002, the Bloomfield Community Centre was deemed surplus property.
- From 2005-2006 a community needs assessment was completed and the process to initiate the Bloomfild master plan and visioning process started.
- December 2008, HRM and the Bloomfield Master Plan Community Advisory Committee held public engagement sessions to present and discuss the draft Master Plan for the Bloomfield Centre property.
- September 2009, Regional Council adopted the Bloomfield Master Plan for redevelopment and soon after issued a Request For Proposals for consulting services to research management models for the Bloomfield property.
- June 2012, the RFP for the purchase of Bloomfield was issued and closed on July 17, 2012.
- December 2012, Regional Council, after reviewing submitted proposals, approved an agreement for the purchase, sale and redevelopment of the Bloomfield property to the Nova Scotia Housing Development Corporation
- May 24, 2016, Council approved the termination of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale of the Bloomfield Property with Nova Scotia Housing Development Corporation after the province advised HRM of its intent to not proceed with the project.
- May 2016, Council directed staff to defer the sale of the Bloomfield property until the conclusion of The Centre Plan process.
- From May to June 2016, initial community consultations and community workshops related to Centre Plan were held. Feedback and input from these engagements helped inform the Centre Plan’s principals and how the Bloomfield site would integrate with the final approved plan.
- August 2017, Council categorized the Bloomfield property as an Inter-governmental sale in response to the Citadel High Family of Schools review after residents expressed the need for a new Junior High school or Conseil scolaire acadien provincial school on the peninsula. The motion asked the Province to respond in order to express interest in purchasing the site as a new location for a school. If the proposal was rejected by the Province, the Bloomfield site would be categorized as Economic Development and sold with the following conditions:
- A minimum of 10,000 sq ft of commercial market space target to the creative industry;
- A minimum of 20,000 sq ft of affordable community and cultural space be included in the new development;
- A minimum of 20% of the site be available as open space, both public and private;
- That the Fielding Building be considered as the site for any cultural hub component; and,
- That 10% of the residential units on the site would be allocated to affordable housing.
- January, 2018, the province indicated they were not able to consider Council’s offer. This meant that the property would be categorized as Economic Development with the conditions listed above.
- November 2018, Imagine Bloomfild and Wonder’neath Arts society submitted their business plan in support of a community and creative hub on the Bloomfield site.
- May 2020, HRM staff prepared to put Bloomfield back on the market after the adoption of Centre Plan package A, and after gathering input from community partners over the time of Centre Plan development.
- From June to August 2020, marketing period and bid review process.
- September 2020 – present, Council’s conditional acceptance of the latest RFP as per our Disposal policy, and review process to ensure all aspects of the condition of sale can be met by potential purchaser.