January 16, 2016
Dear Mayor and Council:
Friends of Halifax Common are writing to ask that you make a statement to refute rumours and media coverage indicating there will be a stadium built on the Wanderer’s Grounds.
The Wanderer’s Grounds is on the Halifax Common, granted “to and for the use of inhabitants of the Town of Halifax as Common forever”. Many citizens and HRM staff are unaware that the Halifax Common land grant is 240 acres. The 1994 Halifax Common Plan commits the city to retaining & recapturing the lands as shown.
In our submission to the Centre Plan, FHC has requested that the 1994 Halifax Common Plan, adopted by the Council of the City of Halifax on 13 October 1994, as policy, shall be deemed to be incorporated, mutatis mutandis, into this Municipal Planning Strategy.
The Centre Plan proposes to densify the peninsula by adding thousands of new residents in the next 15 years as per the Centre Plan. It does not make any sense to build on any public open space-its already limited enough. And it certainly does not make any sense to continue the ad-hoc enclosure of the Common, building by building when presently less than 20% of it remains open.
HRM is finally starting to work on a long-promised masterplan for the Halifax Common. One of the recommendations in the 1994 Plan is to have a balanced use of the Common land. Hopefully the city will have a legitimate public consultation with commoners for an integrated plan for the entire Halifax Common. In the meantime the present use of the Wanderer’s Grounds could be greatly improved if the city removed the equipment and junk it stores there and if someone would unlock the gates to make it accessible.
Friends of Halifax Common is committed to revert the continued enclosure of the Halifax Common, both green and blue space. We hold the bar high on a vision for what it might become. John Zuck, professor at the Dalhousie School of Architecture and Planning has for many years had students work on visionary plans for the Halifax Common. The FHC AGM had an excellent presentation by Kevin Hooper a graduate of that programme- where he showed us an impressive planning concept for the North Common
Many exciting examples of working with nature and restoring urban landscapes exist. Susannah Drake at dlanstudios has many exciting collaborations with Brooklyn and James Corner Field Operations well-known for the New York High Line is a specialist on creating landscapes for both people and nature.
We look forward to working with the city on the next steps. In the meantime HRM should be clarifying to the public that there will be no plan or opportunity for a stadium on any part of the Halifax Common.
Friends of Halifax Common