Rick Howe Interview Re Corridor Wasting Disease

Rick Howe’s interview Peggy Cameron about her photographic exhibition- Corridor Wasting Disease: Robie Street, A Case Study  helps us understand why proposals such as demolishing 7 houses to build an 8-storey box at Robie, Compton & Cunard are the worst choice for the economic, cultural, social and environmental needs of our city. The exhibition continues at the NS Museum of Natural History until Oct. 31.



Urgent-Common Neighbourhood Under Threat at Cunard, Robie & Compton

WTG Info sheet on proposal to demolish 7 mixed-use small-scale historic buildings and build an 8-storey apartment block at the NW corner of the Halifax Common- in the Cunard/ Robie/Compton neighbourhood.

What:  Please attend HRM’s Public meeting to give feedback on the proposed Tony’s Pizza development.

When: Wed. Oct. 11th, 7 pm

Where: Halifax Forum (Maritime Hall)

Can’t attend? Please write the clerks@halifax.ca about Case 20577

Details: Abe Salloum (owner of Tony’s Pizza) wants to demolish 7 buildings on Cunard St, Robie St, & Compton Ave. and erect an 8-storey apartment block with its parking garage in the Compton neighbourhood. The proposed block-buster building is not permitted. Because its height, density, multi-unit use, and commercial use (the same as The Keep, under construction at Quinpool/Vernon) aren’t allowed he and architect WM Fares want city hall to change the rules to match his building using a planning loop-hole.

Why aren’t democratic planning regulations respected? If developers believed that rules mattered, they’d take care of properties they own not buy buildings to eventually tear them down and convert them to bigger-private-profit-makers. Instead Mayor and Council leave all neighbourhoods vulnerable to developer greed as they fudge planning rules.

This isn’t about being a NIMBY or anti-development. Halifax’s best economic advantage is its diverse, older, smaller, character neighbourhoods. Nor is it about densifying the Peninsula, The city has an abundance of vacant land- just consider the acres and acres of car dealerships as one example. We do not need to destroy to accommodate density.

Finally, HRM is beginning to work on the long promised 1994 Halifax Common Plan. It intends that these very treed streetscapes on the edges of the Halifax Common be preserved so the experience of being on the Common feels expansive with green space and blue sky. The North Common is the last remaining public open greenspace on the Halifax Common. No developer should be permitted to block the western sky, flood a busy walking route with more cars and degrade the Common’s character.

At the public meeting tell HRM to stop trying to plop obese uninteresting glass boxes into small-scale neighbourhoods. Tell HRM to create incentives to build on empty land, not demolish what we have. This proposal has no ground to proceed on or under.

Let others know- please pass on or print the Willow Tree Group info sheet.



Photographic Exhibition, Corridor Wasting Disease: Robie Street, a Case Study

9 AM – 5 PM, Oct 4 – 31, 2017  (Wed 9 AM – 8 PM and Mon – Closed)

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History
1747 Summer Street,
side entrance, bottom corridor

Opening Reception:
Wed Oct 4th, 5 PM – 7 PM

Canada’s Endangered Places Committee (EPC) has added hundreds of Halifax homes on the brink of extinction to its List of Endangered Places. Corridor Wasting Disease (CWD), an infectious disorder introduced and spread by the Halifax Centre Plan, is responsible. Using abstract frameworks and inflated population projections, the Centre Plan will grow a dozen+ streets into “Corridors” to better accommodate cars and buses.

Highly contagious, CWD will spread by increases to height limits from 2-3-storeys to 4-6-storeys along designated streets. Once contaminated, symptoms such as property-owner-neglect gradually lay waste to small-scale affordable housing and commercial properties, trees and habitat. CWD can incubate in parking lots or may erupt as glass and concrete real estate for urban elite. Adjacent streets can suffer side effects including parking lots, dumpsters, wind, shadow or general ugliness. CWD may also be linked to political campaign contributions.

The Centre Plan has failed to adopt preventative therapies such as retaining height limits, creating incentives for building on vacant land and automotive dealerships. Healing remedies such rail, transit, cycling and walkability are under funded. A comprehensive demolition permitting policy based on a sustainability check-list is the highest order solution against CWD. This would first consider waste reduction through renovation/repurposing for immediate health benefits such as creating twice as many jobs but using half as many materials as new construction, ensuring ecosystem diversity to accommodate multiple dwellers/users and, addressing climate change by reducing energy consumption.

Corridor Wasting Disease: Robie Street, a Case Study is an exhibition of endangered homes along the western edge of the Halifax Common at risk of extinction (sample population ~100). It is part of the Species Survival Public Education Plan to alert citizens to the dangers of CWD. All of us can help protect these treasured species by becoming better informed, and by taking better care of the city, the Halifax Common, or other habitat where we live. Historic buildings have cultural, social, environmental, and economic value that common citizens share. In cities as in nature everything is connected.

Please write to HRM Councilors to express your concerns; clerks@halifax.ca.  


Good News – Bad News Purcell’s Cove Backlands & Halifax Common

PAC meets Monday for input on Dexel’s proposed 14-storey highrise at Robie, Shirley, Peperell – directly across from the Common Roots Urban Farm and beside Hotel Atlantica. We need Halifax Common’s Master Plan not another high rise.

There’s good news- a few days ago HRM issued an RFP for the Master Plan for the Halifax Common. Next Council agreed to pay $4.1 million to help protect the Purcell’s Cove Backland. Mayor Savage’s statement, “As our city grows, it is more important than ever to preserve natural recreational spaces,” supports what many citizens believe and want. But planning for the preserving natural recreational spaces requires more than words.

Take the example of the Common Roots Urban Farm on the Central Common-it demonstrates the role nature can play in our lives- healing our spirit, minds and bodies and at the same time grow good food! Although Continue reading

Enough with the Developer Shock and Awe

Quinpool Road’s proposed future under the Centre Plan (this image does not include rule-breaking developments in process) Click on image to enlarge. Source: draft Centre Plan (March 2017) 107; heights added by the Willow Tree Group

In “A nightmare of evocation as Halifax falls to the wrecking ball,” author Larry Haven (The Coast Aug 17) gives a satirical glimpse into why we worry that Halifax is “surely and inexorably being destroyed by rampant developers and an obliging council.

The worst is yet to come. A recent Willow Tree Group essay describes the draft Centre Plan’s proposed future for Quinpool Road, one of several targeted growth areas. Its illustration shown on the right is a mini-look at one of multiple Centre Plan areas where height restrictions will be increased to up to 20 storeys. It doesn’t include the proposed Robie Street Corridor where increased heights of 4-6 storeys all along the western edge of the Halifax Common, slowly killing off 100+ historic buildings so more cars and buses can zoom by. And what’s really missing is the huge number of rule-breaker developments approved in advance of the Centre Plan.

HRM Council recently added ~22 developments to the list. These buildings Continue reading

News 95.7 Rick Howe; Privatizing the Halifax Common

The 1886 lease for the Wanderer’s Grounds to the amateur, non-profit Wanderer’s Amateur Athletic Club for sports such as baseball, lawn bowling, rugby and snow-shoeing ended in 1959 when the city took over management of the property.

Friday June 23rd is the 254th anniversary of the granting of the 235 acre Halifax Common “to and for the use of the inhabitants of the town of Halifax, as Commons forever”.

No difference to HRM Council which fast-tracked its further privatization by approving a for-profit private stadium at the Wanderers Grounds. Rick Howe interviews FHC on why this privatization is not in the best interests of the Common or the commoners.

Citizens are increasingly upset with HRM’s disregard for both their interests and the common good. About $1 million in citizens’ tax dollars is being spent to improve the Wanderers Grounds but amateur sports players will have at least 20% less field time. The developer has a stated agenda of locating a permanent sports and entertainment venue on the site. FHC is not opposed to the Stadium, just the location and it objects to yet another ad hoc decision being made before there is a Masterplan as committed to by the city of Halifax in 1994.