St Pat’s Report – Ignores Public In-put, Favours Big Development.

May 27, 2016
Dear Peninsular Advisory Committee Members:
RE: St Pat’s High School
I am writing to suggest that the process for determining what should be built on the former St Pat’s High School has not been conducted with enough rigor or within a proper framework to ensure its final recommendations are valid and to ask that any decision about this property be deferred until after the Centre Plan is completed.
The public comments from the meeting that Councilor Watts held on May 21, 2014 to initiate discussion about possible outcomes for the St Pat’s High School site as documented here:
http://www.halifax.ca/council/agendasc/documents/140722ca1118.pdf are completely ignored in the final plan. Because these comments do not seem to be in the final report as presented for review by the PAC please find a brief summary of what the fifty+ people at this meeting emphasized as important:

  • Retaining some public use of the space especially for an auditorium or performance space;
  • Keeping, improving and connecting public open green space;
  • Using the space to support community needs such as seniors housing, francophone community, or non-profits;
  • Redeveloping for commercial, residential and community to complement the existing neighbourhood and Quinpool Road district- no highrises, beauty, green space, public space, pedestrian friendly;
  • Reconfiguring roads and creating better options for pedestrians, cyclists and connectivity and deal with existing traffic problems.

As well “key design principles that include: urban openness that allows visual and physical access to traditionally private space, human scale, public open spaces, a variety of residential and commercial spaces, capturing the spirit of the existing neighbourhood, and creativity in design” as identified by the project consultant in July 2015 are largely ignored in the final outcome. Continue reading

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Write now! Help Amend City Charter to Stop Demolition

Write now to the Law Amendments Committee (c/o legc@novascotia.ca) to ask for amendments to Bill 177- An Act to Amend the HRM City Charter and the Municipal Government Act so the city can take control over issuing demolition permits, ensuring affordable housing, and protecting built environment, streetscapes and public space etc.

Bill 177 has been introduced, will pass second reading and then come before Law Amendments Committee. Individual citizens can speak before the Committee or submit a written request to the Committee asking for amendments to the HRM Charter to allow the city to take charge over these priorities. Here’s what FHC submitted on May 5th-feel free to use it as a model.
Law Amendments Submission Bill 177-1
Background Details are here: Continue reading

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95.7 Rick Howe – Do Mayor & Council Enable Demolitions?

There are approximately 45-50 buildings under threat of demolition or already under the wrecking ball.  What is the role of the Mayor and Council? What can they do?  Why haven’t they done it?  And why are demolition permits being handed out “left, right and centre”?

Danny Chedrawe has demolished 7 character buildings-his new 7-storey construct will block the view of Citadel Hill from the 5-storey "Halifax Livingroom" of the new Central Library. https://www.halifaxexaminer.ca/province-house/drinking-with-a-dead-man-morning-file-wednesday-may-4-2016/

Danny Chedrawe’s Westwood Ltd. has demolished 7 character buildings-his new 7-storey construct will block the view of Citadel Hill from the 5-storey “Halifax Living-room” of the new Central Library. photo-Halifax Examiner –see more here.

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Steele Auto Expansion- Not a New Experience

Graphic illustrating the 22-25 buildings slated for demolition by Steele Honda - Tristan Cleveland

Graphic illustrating the 22-25 buildings slated for demolition by Steele Honda – Tristan Cleveland

News 95.7 Sheldon MacLeod interviews Peggy Cameron about demolition being a long-term threat to neighbourhoods that the city has allowed.

 

 

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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 existing 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 Continue reading

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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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