September 8, 2014
Mayor Mike Savage
1841 Argyle Street,
Dear Mayor Savage and City Councilors,
I write to you today on behalf of students across Nova Scotia, to express our concern in regards to the July 29 recommendation to the Halifax Regional Council that 1588 Barrington Street be declared as surplus to be sold. 1588 Barrington Street has been home for the Khyber Arts Society for nearly a decade, and through that location has the Khyber has demonstrated itself to be of local, provincial, and national value.
The Khyber Arts Society plays a crucial role is maintaining Halifax’s cultural and creative communities, and is of particular historic importance to the LGBTQ community. The Khyber is a focal point in our local culture, as it provides space for professional art exhibitions, musical performances, workshops, programming for youth, and various fundraising and community organized initiatives. To sell 1588 Barrington Street would be to threaten Halifax’s ability to create and share the vibrancy that we are so proud of. Furthermore, to sell 1588 Barrington St. would contradict the investments Halifax Regional Council placed in the Khyber Arts Society, as the HRC has previously voted in favor of acknowledging 1588 Barrington Street to be a cultural incubator.
The Khyber has been a second home to many students in Halifax, a place to showcase work, a place to challenge and be challenged by peers, and to find a support system. For many young artists, it is a unique opportunity to showcase talent and share experiences. The Khyber Arts Society is an essential cornerstone to the Halifax community, and Halifax as a whole will suffer if 1588 Barrington Street is sold. The Halifax Regional Municipality should be finding ways to make students feel more at home here in Halifax, not destroying one of the few downtown spaces where students already feel a strong sense of attachment and ownership.
Given the cultural, creative, and communal importance of 1588 Barrington Street, students in Nova Scotia demand that the recommendation to sell the building be rejected, and that the Halifax Regional Council commit to renovating and rejuvenating the space through consultation with the Khyber Arts Society.
Anna Dubinski, Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students-Nova Scotia
Yalitsa Riden, Deputy Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students-Nova Scotia