Centre Plan -population forecast, Steve Parcell, August 2016

“Centre Plan Headed in Wrong Direction”

Letter to the HRM Community Design Advisory Committee by Dalhousie professor Steve Parcell, for Wednesday Aug. 23 meeting.

Dear CDAC,
My comments below are in two parts. The first section is new, addressed to you. The second section (with its attachment) is a copy of my comments on the Centre Plan growth scenarios that were sent to planhrm@halifax.ca two weeks ago. (I don’t know if the Planning department forwards a copy of the comments they receive to you.)

1. Comments for CDAC, 20 August 2016
I’ve read Howard Epstein’s letter to CDAC. I agree with him that the Centre Plan is headed in the wrong direction.

As a member of the Willow Tree Group (which has been monitoring proposals around Robie and Quinpool for several years), I’ve been struck by the significant mismatch between the implicit urban vision of the Planning department and responses by the public. This predates Continue reading


“Making a Bad Situation Worse,” FHC Centre Plan Submission

Centre Plan Primary and Secondary Targeted Growth Areas

Centre Plan Primary and Secondary Targeted Growth Areas

“We see the draft Centre Plan as making a bad situation worse. We urge a complete re-thinking of the draft Plan.”  Howard Epstein, Board Member, Friends of Halifax Common

Below are FHC Board Member Howard Epstein’s comments on HRM’s June 27th draft Centre Plan Growth Scenarios submitted to HRM Community Advisory Committee. His letter addresses concerns about the Plan’s general approach and the failure to protect the Halifax Common. Click Here to read previous FHC submissions to HRM’s Centre Plan (PDF) and here (previous post).

August 5, 2016

I am writing on behalf of the membership of the Friends of the Halifax Common to offer comments on the draft Centre Plan.

While the main focus of the FHC is on those aspects of the draft Plan that have immediate impact on the Common, we see those matters as arising in an overall context. That is, the general approach of the draft Plan is also reflected in those portions that are directly related to the Common. These comments, therefore, start with the overall approach of the draft Plan, and then move to specific focus on the Common. Continue reading


Centre Plan Threatens Halifax Common

What ever happened to planning for the Common good?
Deliberately or otherwise and despite FHC’s submission to the Centre Plan, the new draft Centre Plan growth scenarios are about to continue the obliteration of the Halifax Common in at least five ways.
1. The Halifax Common Planning Boundary continues to be mislabeled.
2. Highrise growth is targeted on the Halifax Common at Carlton and Spring Garden Road.
3. Highrise growth is targeted next to the North and Central Commons at the Willow Tree.
4. The Halifax Common’s perimeter along Robie and South Streets are targeted growth areas.
5. Opportunities to re-capture VG Parking lot lands and create a promised Grand Allee from the Citadel to Point Pleasant Park are ignored. (See illustration below, taken from 2007 HRM staff report.)

Details… Continue reading

Brenton Place floats from 13 to 16 storeys over historic Schmidtville neighbourhood.

Brenton Place – Giving Away the Public Good

In July 2016 HRM’s Design Review Committee (DRC) approved the controversial 16-storey Brenton Place. FHC’s letter to the DRC outlines its concerns…

WM Fares' Brenton Place obtained an extra 3 storeys added to the 13-storey height limit for unknown public art of unknown value. As Tim Bousquet writes: "Here’s the impossible view drawn by the architect, showing transparent trees, the elimination of overhead wires and parking metres, and the sky from Europa." The public art is still a mystery.

WM Fares’ Brenton Place obtained an extra 3 storeys to add to the 13-storey height limit in exchange for unknown public art of unknown value. As Tim Bousquet writes: “Here’s the impossible view drawn by the architect, showing transparent trees, the elimination of overhead wires and parking metres, and the sky from Europa.” The public art is still a mystery.

Dear DRC Committee Members:

Please do not permit the extra height for the Brenton Place proposal.

The building is already controversial as it will block the sw side of the adjacent WM Fares Trillium and the high priced view. When WM Fares built the pre-HRMbyDesign Trillium on South Park Street across the street from the Halifax Common’s Victoria Park it already broke planning regulations by getting approved for 20-storeys where there was a 35 foot height restriction and completely ignoring the 1994 Halifax Common Plan. Continue reading

2010-2106 Total Development Agreements

Letter to Mayor Savage – Stop Development Agreements

Your worship,
I am writing again to request that HRM Council consider a moratorium on development applications and on any individual changes to the MPS, pending completion of the Centre Plan and also of the Bonusing Study. As stated in my letter of July 2015 it is inappropriate to proceed with any more of these individual projects since they cumulatively have the effect of predetermining the outcome of larger planning exercises, thus rendering citizen involvement futile.

In case that you are unaware of how normalized development through the DA process has become, (above) is an inventory of Development Agreements applications recently provided by HRM. For example in 2014 there were 50, all without respecting existing regulations and ignoring citizens’ concerns. All Development Agreements are, by definition, a departure from established rules of the MPS and LUB, which offer a sense of stability to existing residents. In my experience, citizen comments and concerns expressed about the various individual DA applications are ignored.

To this I should add that the changes that Council has requested the Provincial government to Continue reading

Don't take the public blue sky for granted. Its time to protect the public's view of the sky and access to light and warmth of the sun. photo by-http://ih.constantcontact.com/fs108/1102470517241

Protect Public Blue Space Too!

Don’t take the view of public blue sky for granted. No, Halifax developers aren’t painting the town red, but they are trying to get rich by occupying public blue space next to green space. Presently there are proposals for 25-, 28-, 18-, 11-, 25-storey buildings around the Halifax Common.  As well, on Halifax Common land, an 18-storey building next to Camphill Cemetery on Carlton St. is already approved; a 30-storey building is proposed for Spring Garden Road at Carlton-Robie; and another in the works on the JustUs/Medical Arts block.

Halifax developers are misusing development agreements to by-pass the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy and build out-of-scale buildings.  When developers build highrises next to public green space, they privatize the public’s blue space/view selling and make higher profits, not just from extra floor space to sell or rent but because these condos, hotel rooms and apartments have a privatize luxury view.

Write the Mayor & Council (clerks@halifax.ca) & ask for regulations to protect the public’s “Blue Network” to ensure access to the view, the light and warmth of the sun and against the wind and shade effects from highrises. Continue reading