Rick Howe & FHC Update on APL’s Willow Tree Tower

Last week at Council , District 9’s Shawn Cleary suddenly tried to pass a motion to have a public hearing for “up to 25-storeys” for APL’s Willow Tree tower, not the 20-storeys that HRM Council voted for in March. That’s because APL claims 20-storeys won’t make money. Luckily Cleary’s motion didn’t get a 2/3 majority. Media reports vary on what’s next… APL will work with staff to push for height, sue HRM or renovate the existing building. Eight out of nine Councillors defended the March 2017 vote (including Cleary’s) for a public hearing on 20-storeys. Even at that Council and staff are ignoring citizens’ concerns that 20-storeys brings too much density, mass, wind, shadow, traffic and parking and will harm the neighbourhood, local businesses and green space such as the Halifax Common.

Listen to the interview here:

Tell Council APL’s Proposal Needs to Start Over

Tomorrow (Tuesday Nov 14) APL is coming back to HRM Council arguing that their business case for Willow Tree only works at 25-storeys, not the 20-storeys that Council voted to bring to a public hearing. Please tell your Councillor not to yield to the developer’s pressure.
 
FHC agrees with Councillors Waye Mason and Lindell Smith who understand that APL’s now proposed 25-storey building for the Willow Tree is a new proposal and should start from the beginning of the application process. 
 

Source: draft Centre Plan (March 2017), 107; with heights added by the Willow Tree Group

This is a fundamental change from the 20-storeys Council had previously voted to recommend go toa public hearing and it should go back to square one, said FHC’S Howard Epstein. And if 6-storeys is the right height for Westwood Develoment’s building next door on the Cruikshank property, there’s no reason why even 20-storeys should have been considered, let alone 25.

It isn’t just about the single issue of the height of the building-it is about the documented reasons and legitimate concerns of the many citizens who’ve participated and the need for more and better consideration of what the location can and should accommodate.
 
Let’s bring a bit of balance in representing the interests of citizens as well as those of developers. The Centre Plan is a draft only form at this time. What it proposes for this area has not been approved by the public or by the Mayor and Council – nor should it be. The RFP for the Masterplan for the Halifax Common has just be awarded.
 
This is an opportunity to do the right thing and start over with a process that benefits the Common not a private developer. Write or call your Councillor, asap!

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 Nov. 2nd.

Chronicle Herald Review – Artist critiques HRM’s plans: Robie St., a case study

Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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

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

Location:
Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History
1747 Summer Street,
side entrance, bottom corridor
https://naturalhistory.novascotia.ca

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.