Halifax – Dartmouth neighbourhoods aren’t “out-of-date” or ready for demolition.

MEDIA RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 1, 2016
(Halifax) Between 45 & 50 buildings on the Halifax Peninsula are about to be demolished or are under threat. When you add it up, Halifax is under siege by some developers that want to build outside existing planning rules and get ahead of the Centre Plan. Recent news revealed Steele Auto’s plans to raze 17 properties NE of Robie and North Streets but there are many other neighbourhoods threatened by private developers. Good city development and planning is guided by more than developers’ and car dealers’ needs. The Mayor and Council need to take control by enforcing exiting planning rules and taking control of demolition permitting.

Present plans and regulations already allow for the construction of an additional 34,965 dwelling units in the Regional Centre without any changes. There is no need to break rules or destroy the historic character and urban fabric of Halifax.

But plans are in the works for 3 high-rises between 18-30 storeys in the Spring Garden Road area between Robie and Carlton Streets by Dexel Construction and Killam Properties. These proposals are all located on Halifax Common Land where the historic streetscape has a 2.5 storey height limit. Under the 1994 Halifax Common Plan the City of Halifax committed to protect the integrity of the Halifax Common and to maintain and enhance the special character and beauty of the area, its open space, trees, views and landmarks, historic significance etc. If approved the towers will result in 8 -10 mixed-use, small-scale commercial and residential buildings on Spring Garden Road being demolished.

Similarly at Robie and Quinpool developers want to break regulations and dominate the western edge of the Halifax Common with out of scale high-rises – Armco (29-storeys), Westwood (24-storeys) and Dexel (12-storeys). If approved, these high-rises, like those already approved on South Park Street, will demolish historic buildings and negatively affect residential and rental units. The high-rises will destroy the charm, character, enjoyment and walkability of existing neighbourhoods and the Halifax Common by creating shadow and wind and by blocking public views. By breaking rules to locate high-rises next to public open space, developers will make huge profits from renting or selling luxurious views of the public’s green space.

Dartmouth and Halifax, over 260 years, have developed many distinctive and inviting neighbourhoods. After detailed public participation at dozens of meetings, the former Cities of Dartmouth and Halifax prepared overall municipal planning strategies and detailed area plans to protect these neighbourhood characteristics. So, too, with the long-ignored 1994 Halifax Common Plan.

These strategies have been successful. Many of the policies are state of the art. Residents are proud of their neighbourhoods. The population of the “Regional Centre” (Halifax peninsula and Dartmouth inside the circumferential highway) is growing.

HRM staff describe our municipal planning strategies as “out-of-date”. They’re working on a new Regional Centre Plan to “replace” the current strategies that deal with individual neighbourhoods. It’s happening with little citizen engagement- a quick and dirty public consultation-only four meetings over two weeks – (see details below). Staff says the proposed plan will “protect the scale and character of existing neighbourhoods”, but it’s difficult to believe that all the necessary detail and good principles will be incorporated by this fall.

Send comments to ask for protection of Halifax neighbourhoods to the Mayor and Council and the Chair and Members of the Community Design Advisory Committee, c/o clerks@halifax.ca.

(30)

media contact:  Peggy Cameron      902.492.4372       www.halifaxcommon.ca

Related Details:
I. letter to the Mayor and Council asking them to take charge of demolition permits.

II. Partial list of houses/commercial properties or locations where demolition has or may threaten neighbourhoods on the Halifax Peninsula:
a. 1 Cleveland House on Young Avenue;
b. 2-3 buildings on Robie and Parker just north of Quinpool;
c. 7-10 houses on Brenton Street, Clyde Street, South Park Street (The Trillium project removed ~5 houses);
d. 2-3 buildings on Seymour at Coburg Road;
e. 7 buildings on Doyle Street, Queen Street and Spring Garden Road-already demolished;
f. 17 properties on North Street, Robie Street, McCully Street, May Street and Fern Lane;
g. 4 residential homes on Wellington Street;
Up-coming projects that may require demolition applications if approved are:
g. Dexel Construction – 6-8 properties on the south side of Spring Garden Road between Carleton Street and Robie Street;
h. Killam Properties – 1 or more properties on the SE corner of Spring Garden Road and Carleton St;
i. Ghosn has just purchased the 1 Commissionaire’s building on Hollis and wants to incorporate the facade into a 7-storey multi-residential.

Also larger buildings such as Piercy’s, Ben’s Bakery & St Pat’s are places where businesses could have been locating.

III. Additional Details on Centre Plan consultation

The current plans are here:
http://www.halifax.ca/planning/documents/Dartmouth_MPS.pdf,
http://www.halifax.ca/planning/documents/DowntownDartmouth_SPS.pdf,
http://www.halifax.ca/planning/documents/Halifax_MPS.pdf.

The HRM web site has information about the staff proposal at: http://shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/centre-plan-intro.

IV. Centre Plan meetings locations:
Dartmouth North Community Centre, 105 Highfield Park Drive, Monday, May 2
Mic Mac Rowing Club, 192 Prince Albert Road, Dartmouth, Tuesday, May 3
St. Mary’s Boat Club, 1641 Fairfield Road, Halifax, Thursday, May 5
Halifax Forum, Windsor Street, Halifax, Wednesday, May 11
The workshops will run twice at each location:  1-3 p.m. and from 6-8 p.m.

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Halifax – Dartmouth neighbourhoods aren’t “out-of-date” or ready for demolition.

May 1, 2016              MEDIA RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Halifax) Between 45 & 50 buildings on the Halifax Peninsula are about to be demolished or are under threat. When you add it up, Halifax is under siege by some developers that want to build outside existing planning rules and get ahead of the Centre Plan. Recent news revealed Steele Auto’s plans to raze 17 properties NE of Robie and North Streets but there are many other neighbourhoods threatened by private developers. Good city development and planning is guided by more than developers’ and car dealers’ needs. The Mayor and Council need to take control by enforcing exiting planning rules and taking control of demolition permitting.

Present plans and regulations already allow for the construction of an additional 34,965 dwelling units in the Regional Centre without any changes. There is no need to break rules or destroy the historic character and urban fabric of Halifax.

But plans are in the works for 3 high-rises between 18-30 storeys in the Spring Garden Road area between Robie and Carlton Streets by Dexel Construction and Killam Properties. These proposals are all located on Halifax Common Land where the historic streetscape has a 2.5 storey height limit. Under the 1994 Halifax Common Plan the City of Halifax committed to protect the integrity of the Halifax Common and to maintain and enhance the special character and beauty of the area, its open space, trees, views and landmarks, historic significance etc. If approved the towers will result in 8 -10 mixed-use, small-scale commercial and residential buildings on Spring Garden Road being demolished.

Similarly at Robie and Quinpool developers want to break regulations and dominate the western edge of the Halifax Common with out-of-scale high-rises – Armco (29-storeys), Westwood (24-storeys) and Dexel (12-storeys). If approved, these highrises, like those already approved on South Park Street, will demolish historic buildings and negatively affect residential and rental units. The out-of-scale towers will destroy the charm, character, enjoyment and walkability of existing neighbourhoods and the Halifax Common by creating shadow and wind and by blocking public views. By breaking rules to locate high-rises next to public open space, developers will make huge profits from renting or selling luxurious views of the public’s green space.

Dartmouth and Halifax, over 260 years, have developed many distinctive and inviting neighbourhoods. After detailed public participation at dozens of meetings, the former Cities of Dartmouth and Halifax prepared overall municipal planning strategies and detailed area plans to protect these neighbourhood characteristics. So, too, with the long-ignored 1994 Halifax Common Plan.

These strategies have been successful. Many of the policies are state of the art. Residents are proud of their neighbourhoods. The population of the “Regional Centre” (Halifax peninsula and Dartmouth inside the circumferential highway) is growing.

HRM staff describe our municipal planning strategies as “out-of-date”. They’re working on a new Regional Centre Plan to “replace” the current strategies that deal with individual neighbourhoods. It’s happening with little citizen engagement- a quick and dirty public consultation-only four meetings over two weeks – (see details below). Staff says the proposed plan will “protect the scale and character of existing neighbourhoods”, but it’s difficult to believe that all the necessary detail and good principles will be incorporated by this fall.

Send comments to ask for protection of Halifax neighbourhoods to the Mayor and Council and the Chair and Members of the Community Design Advisory Committee, c/o clerks@halifax.ca.

(30)

media contact:  Peggy Cameron      902.492.4372       www.halifaxcommon.ca

Related Details:
I. letter to the Mayor and Council asking them to take charge of demolition permits.

II. Partial list of houses/commercial properties or locations where demolition has or may threaten neighbourhoods on the Halifax Peninsula:
a. 1 Cleveland House on Young Avenue;
b. 2-3 buildings on Robie and Parker just north of Quinpool;
c. 7-10 houses on Brenton Street, Clyde Street, South Park Street (The Trillium project removed ~5 houses);
d. 2-3 buildings on Seymour at Coburg Road;
e. 7 buildings on Doyle Street, Queen Street and Spring Garden Road-already demolished;
f. 17 properties on North Street, Robie Street, McCully Street, May Street and Fern Lane;
g. 4 residential homes on Wellington Street;
Up-coming projects that if approved may require demolition applications are:
g. Dexel Construction – 6-8 properties on the south side of Spring Garden Road between Carleton Street and Robie Street;
h. Killam Properties – 1 or more properties near the SE corner of Spring Garden Road and Carleton St;
i. Ghosn has just purchased the 1 Commissionaire’s building on Hollis and wants to incorporate the facade into a 7-storey multi-residential.
Also larger buildings such as Piercy’s, Ben’s Bakery & St Pat’s are places where businesses could have been locating.

III. Additional Details on Centre Plan consultation
The current plans are here:
http://www.halifax.ca/planning/documents/Dartmouth_MPS.pdf,
http://www.halifax.ca/planning/documents/DowntownDartmouth_SPS.pdf, http://www.halifax.ca/planning/documents/Halifax_MPS.pdf.
The HRM web site has information about the staff proposal at: http://shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/centre-plan-intro.

IV. Centre Plan meetings locations:
Dartmouth North Community Centre, 105 Highfield Park Drive, Monday, May 2
Mic Mac Rowing Club, 192 Prince Albert Road, Dartmouth, Tuesday, May 3
St. Mary’s Boat Club, 1641 Fairfield Road, Halifax, Thursday, May 5
Halifax Forum, Windsor Street, Halifax, Wednesday, May 11

The workshops will run twice at each location: once from 1-3 p.m. and again from 6-8 p.m.

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Dear Mayor-Take Control of Demolition Permits

Dear Mayor Savage and Council:

Re:  Take Immediate Action to obtain an amendment to HRM City Charter to control issuance of demolition permits.
I write to request that the HRM Municipal Council take immediate action to ask the provincial government for an amendment to the HRM Charter so as to obtain control over demolition permits.
The city needs to immediately develop policy around criteria and rules whereby the city would permit demolition of existing built properties. These criteria need to go beyond the very limited scope for safe demolition as governed under the Building Code Act. Some these may be incorporated into the Centre Plan. The issuance of demolition permits should be suspended until such time as these new policies and rules are in place.  There is no shortage of empty lots available for development without further demolition of existing properties.

For example criteria and rules should include but not be limited to:
1. preservation of rental housing to prevent the conversion of rental property to private condos and housing;
2. prevention of lot consolidation for conversion of rental housing to other uses that remove the rental properties;
3. prevention of lot consolation for expansion of a non-conforming use;
4. preservation of heritage properties- normally a city has value for built heritage and should be protecting these;
5. preservation of properties with historic value even if these don’t have heritage designation;
or
6.  preservation of small scale mixed use commercial properties.

Demolition should only be permitted if there is an approval for a new development. Such a project should conform to existing planning policies and regulations. Penalties should apply if the project does not go forward within a prescribed time frame.

Further regulations need to be developed through zoning to ensure that the transition from one use to another when permitted does not have a negative effect on abutting properties.

There are many situations in Halifax presently where demolition is affecting the availability of rental properties both residential and small-scale commercial and the quality of life, livability and general enjoyment of adjacent properties and experiences of pubic space.

For example you are already aware of the Cleveland House on Young Avenue, houses on Brenton Street, Clyde Street, South Park Street, Coburg Road, Vernon Street and 7 buildings on Doyle Street, Queen Street and Spring Garden Road.
More recently are the 17 properties on North Street, Robie Street, McCully Street, May Street and Fern Lane.  Up-coming will be applications for demolition by Dexel Construction for properties between Carleton Street and Robie Street along the south side of Spring Garden Road. Following will be Killam Properties application for the demolition of properties on the SE corner of Spring Garden Road and Carleton St.

As per previous correspondence I attach “Older, Smaller, Better-measuring how the character of building blocks influences urban vitality” a study using empirical evidence to demonstrate the unique and valuable economic role that older, smaller buildings have in the development of sustainable cities.

Please take action immediately. Cities need guidance beyond the criteria of developers and car dealers.

Yours truly,
Peggy Cameron

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Are Dexel Developers Slick Marketers Using Brent Toderian?

FHC’s belief that protecting the Halifax Common must be a top priority as the population in the urban core grows is supported by growing evidence of the social, health and environmental benefits of public open space. Sadly Dexel Construction’s private consultation for a 28+/- tower on Halifax Common land at

Developments at the Willow Tree and along South Park and Spring Garden Road are popular with develpers looking to sell luxurious views.

Developments at the Willow Tree, along South Park and Spring Garden Road are sought after by developers using individual development agreement applications and looking to sell luxurious views for maximum profit.   See details at: www.willowtreehalifax.wordpress.com/exceeding-limits

Spring Garden Rd, Carleton and Robie where the present height restriction is 35 feet/2.5 storeys, is just the latest threat by developers wanting to maximize profits by building their private towers next to or on public open space. At Dexel’s recent presentation, Density Done Well, Vancouver’s former chief planner Brent Toderian a paid Dexel constultant and highrise advocate, left out significant information in his love-in for Dexel’s “game- Continue reading

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Working with Nature, a Common Cause

Map of Halifax by Captain Charles Blaskowitz in 1784

Halifax Map by Captain Charles Blaskowitz in 1784

How can understanding former uses and natural features of the Halifax Common help us deal with contemporary concerns and future challenges?

To learn more come & hear guest speaker Kevin Hooper Tuesday April 12, 6:45 pm – 7:45 pm
Room 301, Halifax Central Library, Spring Garden Road
A refreshments break at 8:45 pm will be followed by FHC AGM at ~ 8 pm.

Details: Kevin Hooper investigates the Halifax Common’s social and environmental history and makes the case for reintroducing functioning wetland ecosystems to deal with the challenges facing conventional stormwater management.
Among other topics this presentation will detail; the near complete loss of historical watercourses on the Halifax Peninsula; the evolution of the Halifax Common from 1749-2016; the critical role of wetlands in nature; and, the innovative ways that engineered wetlands are being applied for the purposes of sustainable stormwater management.

Bio: Kevin Hooper, B.A., M.U.R.P., originally from Moncton, N.B.,  has lived and worked in Halifax since 2006.  Following an undergraduate degree in the social sciences Kevin did a Masters in Urban and Rural Planning at Dalhousie University with a focus on environmental conservation, social equity, and community design.  He has contributed as a research assistant on several projects relating to climate change adaptation for small communities and currently works as a planning consultant.
He is the father of three young children and the very lucky partner of the most wonderful woman in the world.

 

 

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Whose Interest is the City Serving?

The Halifax Common and the Parker-Welsford Street neighbourhood continue to be threatened by the proposed 30-storey Armoyen and 25-storey Chedrawe developments. It is disappointing  to have city staff pushing through the development agreement process for projects that are non-conforming to the MPS, the LUB, the Quinpool Road and Area Plan and 1994 Halifax Common Plan (see: PAC Minutes-Jan 25, 2016 ).  The Willow Tree Group‘s serious and credible

Developers' push for profit and all day darkness on the Oval.

Staff & Developers’ push for private profits, neighbourhood be damned.

work to draw attention to contraventions including height, scale, density, the negative effects on the Halifax Common, existing houses and from traffic, wind and shadow seems ignored.  All for the private interests & profit of exceptionalist developers. The
2013 Stantec Report, the city’s
recent Density Bonusing Study and  Turner Drake’s quarterly reports offer lots of evidence on why  building outside of plan is a bad idea.
Whose interest is the city serving?

“Amendments to an MPS are generally not considered unless it can be shown that circumstances have changed since the document was adopted to the extent that the original land use policy is no longer appropriate. Site-specific MPS amendment requests, in particular, require significant justification to be considered.”

 

 

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