This music venue Pavilion of the 2010s couldn't imagine becoming a shelter for houseless people in 2022.

Pavilion building turning into temporary overnight shelter

Former all-ages music venue on the Halifax Common will have 25 beds available until the end of March.

On Tuesday, Nova Scotia’s community services department teamed up with the city to make a long-awaited announcement about a emergency overnight shelter. So long-awaited, in fact, that winter is almost over, and unhoused residents will benefit from it for only one month.

“The Province will operate a temporary overnight shelter at the Pavilion on the Halifax Common until March 31,” reads the provincial release. The city is providing the building while the province will cover operational costs, which are expected to be approximately $30,000 for the month. After March ends, the province says the swimming pool shed-turned music venue at 5816 Cogswell Street could still be used as shelter on a “case-by-case basis.”

“It ensures that anyone in the Halifax region who needs warm shelter during these cold evenings has a place to go any night, regardless of the weather,” minister of community services Karla McFarlane is quoted as saying in the release. But McFarlane’s assurance rings hollow, because The Pavilion shelter is replacing other shelter beds that are closing at George Dixon Centre, not adding to the city’s total shelter capacity.

The Pavilion and the Dixon Centre each have 25 beds, although there should be better access to those beds at The Pavilion as it will be open every night in March, while the Dixon Centre only opened as a shelter when the weather got particularly bad (temperature below -15 degrees or at least 25cm of snow). McFarlane’s press release says there are currently 473 people experiencing homelessness in Halifax.

As for The Pavilion as an all-ages music venue, read The Coast’s story about its illustrious past and uncertain future here.

UPDATE: After March 31, the province says the Pavilion shelter beds will be moved to Brunswick Street Mission and remain operational until at least June 30.

About The Author

Victoria Walton

Victoria has been a full-time reporter with The Coast since April 2020, covering everything from COVID-19 to small business to politics and social justice. Originally from the Annapolis Valley, she graduated from the University of King’s College School of Journalism in 2017.

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