Landlord gives 2SLGBTQ+ youth centre in Sydney an extra month to vacate premises

Cass Boutilier is a community educator with the Cape Breton Youth Project, which is being evicted from its building, shown at the right. The new NSCC campus is shown across the street. (Tom Ayers/CBC - image credit)
Cass Boutilier is a community educator with the Cape Breton Youth Project, which is being evicted from its building, shown at the right. The new NSCC campus is shown across the street. (Tom Ayers/CBC - image credit)

A centre that caters to 2SLGBTQ+ youth in downtown Sydney, N.S., has been given an extra month before it has to vacate the location.

This week, the Cape Breton Youth Project on Townsend Street was given an eviction notice for the end of August.

Co-ordinator Madonna Doucette said it may be because the building is across the street from the new Nova Scotia Community College campus, which may make the location more valuable when the college opens this fall.

"The coldheartedness of his decision to just rip our tenancy out of our location is just awe-inducing to me," she said Friday.

"I just can't believe that he would do it. It's just very Scrooge McDuck of him to kick us out as the only youth-serving organization in all of downtown Sydney."

Doucette said she was shocked by the eviction notice, which came in a brief email earlier this week. She said the centre has been a good tenant and always had a good relationship with the landlord.

Cape Breton Youth Project co-ordinator Madonna Doucette says she's not fighting the eviction notice, but needs more time to organize a move to a new location after summer is over.
Cape Breton Youth Project co-ordinator Madonna Doucette says she's not fighting the eviction notice, but needs more time to organize a move to a new location after summer is over.

Cape Breton Youth Project co-ordinator Madonna Doucette says she's not fighting the eviction notice, but needs more time to organize a move. (Matthew Moore/CBC)

She said the lease doesn't expire until next year.

Doucette said moving in the summer will be difficult because it's a busy time for programming and some staff are off on summer vacation.

She said she is not fighting the eviction, but appealed for an extra month to get the centre moved.

The building owner said the downtown location had nothing to do with his decision to end the lease.

Dimitri Neonakis said the centre did not formally sign its new lease and he has received complaints from other occupants in the building.

"I faced a lot of phone calls from the other tenants," he said.

"There were a lot of disagreements on parking. There were a lot of disagreements on other issues. It was a little ugly."

Neonakis also said the NSCC construction next door is not making the property any more valuable.

Dimitri Neonakis, owner of the building on Townsend Street that houses the youth project and a realty company, says the NSCC campus construction has nothing to do with the eviction.
Dimitri Neonakis, owner of the building on Townsend Street that houses the youth project and a realty company, says the NSCC campus construction has nothing to do with the eviction.

Dimitri Neonakis, owner of the building on Townsend Street that houses the youth project and a realty company, says the NSCC campus construction has nothing to do with the eviction. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

He said one tenant left the building after a dispute with the youth project.

"A lot of people think that because it is where it is, it's prime real estate," Neonakis said. "No. The tenants who left upstairs, I'm trying to rent it for three months now and I'm unable."

Neonakis agreed to extend the eviction deadline to the end of September.

New location possible

Doucette denied the centre caused problems for other tenants and said she already has a line on a possible new location.

The centre regularly sees up to 40 youth during drop-in events and hosted 90 at a queer prom in Sydney last week.

The youth project provides support services, social events and a new food program to help fight poverty in the community.

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