The Khyber building is a key venue in Halifax's music and arts scene, but the operators of the Khyber Arts Society (KAS) are concerned for their future after being served an eviction notice.
This eviction doesn't come entirely out of the blue. A recent environmental inspection found asbestos and traces of lead paint, and while it didn't appear that any asbestos had been released into the air, this led to the temporary closure of the building for renovations.
The KAS questioned the need for these renovations. A recent email to the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), posted on the KAS Facebook page notes that only localized spots of the building require renovation, and argues that the second floor is apparently safe. With no timeline for the proposed fixes, the KAS asked, "Is the HRM really willing to risk losing this very important cultural space to red tape?"
Then, on Monday (February 24), the KAS tweeted, "The Khyber has been evicted from the Khyber. Served the order today. It is hard to have faith in the city's cultural plan when they do this."
When asked about the safety of the building, the society tweeted, "[the] building predates common use of asbestos. Your house probably has more in it than ours." They further questioned when the renovations would take place, asking, "1 year? 5 years?"
The KAS has been told that it will be relocated in the meantime, but it is currently still in limbo.
The Khyber building was first opened in 1888 as the Church of England Institute. It has been the Khyber Club since 1995, and Joel Plaskett Emergency released the album Down at the Khyber in 2001. The building is also home to the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia.
Thanks to AUX for the tip.