Open Letter

Open letter in support of the Khyber building

Published in the Chronicle Herald, Sept 9, 2014.

Dear Editor,

This letter has been signed by 100 artists and cultural leaders from Halifax and across the country. We are a fraction of those that owe a part of our success to the Khyber building.

As downtown Halifax bleeds businesses to other parts of the HRM, the heart of our city is looking less like a core and more like a ghost town. Unlike other buildings which are now vacant because commercial rates are out of touch with what local businesses can afford, the Khyber building stands vacant because of the city’s lack of leadership.

In spite of Halifax Regional Council’s repeated resolutions over the past five years that endorsed the Khyber as an arts and cultural hub in the city’s downtown, a July 29th, 2014 city staff report recommended the building be classified as surplus and sold. City staff seem all too willing to throw away the cultural and historic gem that is the Khyber building.

Claims that the necessary upgrades of the Khyber building would cost the city $4 million are unsubstantiated and dramatically out of step with a 2010 assessment that put the maximum costs of repairs at $733,000. Given that Halifax acquired the building for one dollar in 1988 in order to preserve it as a significant heritage landmark, we say that appropriate investment is long overdue for a building that so enriches HRM.

The communities that have made the Khyber building home offer our city the kind of prosperity that we can all take part in: a place that is accessible to the people that make HRM their home, not just tourists. This is a public space that has incubated the careers of countless artists. The economic and cultural spinoffs of the Khyber are immeasurable and should be celebrated by the municipality, not stifled.

We ask Halifax Regional Council to value the Khyber building as inextricable from our collective contribution to the communities and economies of Halifax and Canada.

Friends of the Khyber
Chris “Old Man” Leudecke
Matt Mays
Rose Cousins
Charles Austin
Joel Plaskett
Jerry Granelli
Al Tuck
Craig Ferguson
Jenn Grant
Jill Barber
Shotgun and Jaybird
Rich Aucoin
Scratch Bastid
Cathy Busby
Garry Neill Kennedy
Kevin Lewis
Dave Marsh
Chris Pennell
Ian McGettigan
Thrush Hermit
Amanda Burt
Rebecca Kraatz
Angie Fenwick
Colin MacKenzie
Cliff Gibb
Rich Terfry aka Buck 65
Rob Benvie
Matt Charlton
Tracy Stevens
Dan Ledwell
Toby Balch
Anna Plaskett
J LaPointe
North of America
Steve Ralston
Adam Baldwin
Kyle Shaw
Christine Oreskovich
Krista Keough
Gary Swim
Elizabeth Wozniak
Yellow Jacket Avenger
Jon Epworth
Two Hours Traffic
Marilyn McAvoy
Forward Music Group
Paper Beat Scissors
Gianna Lauren
The Olympic Symphonium
The Sleepless Nights
In Flight Safety
Seth Smith
Nancy Urich
Paul Hammond
Dog Day/ The Burdocks
Cold Warps
John Boudreau
Kerry MacLellan
Grant Lawrence
David Christensen
Mitchell Wiebe
Victoria Kent
Lucy Pullen
Ali Nickerson
Kroll Jackson
Marc Bell
Phil Grauer
Erica Hennebury
Ruth Maddoc Jones
Sherry Lynn Jollimore
Kenny Lewis
Daniel MacDonald
Kelly Mark
Mike Leblanc
Nobu Adilman
Jonny Stevens
Kate Walchuk
Melanie Colosimo
Jan Peacock
Steve Higgins
Craig Leonard
Eryn Foster
Adam Kelly
Jayne Wark
Daniel MacDonald
Sherry Lynn Jollimore
Kenny Lewis
Robin Metcalfe
Aaron Mangle
Leigh Dotey
Susan Wolf
Emily Davidson
Catherine Abreu
Peter Dykhuis
Eleanor King
Erika Walker
Paul Caskey
Kaleigh Trace
Rose Zack
Argyle Fine Art
Ingrid Jenkner