Be Neighbourly, CBC-YMCA Is Already Twice the Allowed Height (7 vs. 14+ storeys)

CBC YMCA site got broke HRMbyDesign rules

The CBC YMCA development broke HRMbyDesign rules when the height was doubled from 7 to +14-storeys. The Design Review Committee chair, Alan Parish resigned because the Mayor and council ignored the DRC recommendations to not approve the building.

Is development polarizing Halifax because developers always want and get more? A Jan 10  CBC response article correctly points out the FHC position that city staff should be applauded, not bashed for turning down the requset for 14 more amendments from the CBC-Y site developer, Mr Spatz. His development is already double what’s permitted under HRMbyDesign regulations. Its +14-storeys (49m) not the allowed 7-storeys (23m).  That permission was despite the 2011 Design Review Committee Report that recommended against the development because it broke the new 2009 HRMbyDesign regulations. The DRC chair Mr. Alan Parish resigned as a result of their recommendation being ignored. A 2012 FHC Letter details rules that are broken.

The Design Review Committee seems like their agenda is too full to understand the implications of their decisions. The Thursday, January 14th meeting will cover three big items including the CBC-YMCA, Brenton Street and Doyle Block the View from the library proposals. One meeting is hardly enough time to really think about what kind of city we’re going to end up with.

Write to:
The Design Review Committee
c/o Sherryll Murphy – and
Mayor Savage –


St Pat’s – Where is the 3-D Model? What is the Public Benefit?

HRM’s survey on the St. Pat’s site developments closes Jan 4th. BUT you can still email  that you’d like to see like to see some 3-D models or dioramas. We need to understand what the cumulative impact of so many buildings will be.

Previous problems identified by FHC posts and a Willow Tree Group‘s editorial remain: a total floor area of 47,000m2 allows too much bulk and; a density of ~280 persons/acre compared to the 125 permitted is too high. These would permit 1 or 2 slab high-rises of 18- storeys and others of 7-13 storeys up to 60m wide. Without a master Centre Plan this is a bad precedent for proposed nearby developments.

Developers plan to stuff the block east of Victoria Park with highrises. HaRMbyDesign has left the pbulic out of the pciture.

Developers plan to stuff the block east of Victoria Park with highrises. HRMbyDesign leaves the public out of the picture. Its the developer’s decision to have million dollar condo owners hear the guy in the next building flush his toilet. Or watch him. The same kind of planning is happening at the St Pat’s site where no 3-D or modeled planning for proposed development is available.

If you want to imagine how bad, take a look at the new developments planned for South Park, Brenton and Clyde Street in Schmidtville next to Victoria Park. Smart citizens built a mock-up of what the city is allowing next to the Trillium.  3-D creates a very disturbing impression compared to flat diagrams and abstract numbers pitched by consultants.

St Pat’s is the public’s property.  Tell the City to take the time to get the plan right.  Its time to break out the lego, cardboard and glue sticks. Let’s design some public benefit.


Rick Howe Interview: St Pat’s Land- Plan For Our Future

Common Roots Urban Farm is an inspiration. In 2007 instead of returning the former QEHS land to the Halifax Common as promised, HRM traded it to Capital Health. FHC and smart Capital Health decision-makers agreed that a community garden would be a good interim use. In the 5 years since a valid public consultation, gardening doula Jayme Melrose’s imaginative

In 5 years Jayme Melrose and her team of volunteers have transformed the QEHS land into a place of productive beauty. Let's have a vision for St Pat's that's bigger than a developer's profit.

The QEHS land is now a place of productive beauty. We need a vision for St Pat’s that is bigger than a developer’s profit.

guidance and amazing volunteers have transformed it into a productive, edible landscape. But it’s temporary.
Rick Howe’s interview with Peggy Cameron explains why the Mayor & Council’s decision to sell St. Pat’s is just as short-sighted as the loss of QEHS. Listen to the recording below and then write <> to tell them to keep the St Pat’s land public.


Herald Counterpoint: St. Pat’s Site is Public Property

Published December 11, 2015
The St. Pat’s High School land belongs to the citizens. Unless citizens decide otherwise, that’s the way it should remain. But city staff, under direction from the Halifax mayor and council continue an invented process to sell off the site.  Why are they so stoked about the sale? They made the decision to sell without asking the owners (you and me). And since then, the process

The state of demolition of the former St. Pat’s High School as of Dec. 4. (INGRID BULMER / Staff)

The state of demolition of the former St. Pat’s High School as of Dec. 4. (INGRID BULMER / Staff)

has been rushed, ill-informed and inadequate.  The single goal is to predetermine the size and number of buildings the purchaser can profitably build. By proposing buildings with greater heights and densities than the existing Regional Municipal Plan, Land Use By-Laws and Quinpool Road Area Plans allow, the city has normalized the understanding that the upcoming Centre Plan will be precluded
Is there a compelling reason to sell off this
centrally located parcel of public land? Not according to a 2013 Stantec report commissioned by HRM.  It determined there’s enough Continue reading


Good News at the Willow Tree – Thank You Bill Mont!

Replacement Tree

Private citizen Bill Mont replaced this Willow Tree, victim of a car crash.

Friends of Halifax Common offer a sincere “Thank You” to Bill Mont for his resolve to plant a new willow tree at the Robie St. & Quinpool Rd.  corner. A midst all the distraction over proposed highrises & a proposed roundabout at the “Willow Tree” corner no notice was given to the Willow Tree having gone missing in action.  On Nov 29, 2014, a 4 am car crash took down the most recent willow tree that Queen Elizabeth II planted years ago. (See Nick Hood’s car crash video & pics of previous willow trees here…)
Continue reading


Update on Coalition for Responsible Development in HRM

In June 2015 a coalition of  14 community groups signed an open letter to Mayor Savage and the HRM Council about the misuse of the Development Agreement process within HRM.  Friends of Halifax Common supported this letter.

A recent meeting was held to see if these organizations were prepared to form a Coalition for Responsible Development in HRM.  Representatives from the various organizations were in attendance (c.36 people) and were in agreement on this.

To get started, another.. Continue reading