Author Archives: pcameron

Sorry, Wanderer’s Grounds is not available for Stadium

Friends of Halifax Common have written to HRM Mayor and Council asking them to make a statement to refute rumours and media coverage indicating there will be a stadium built on the Wanderer’s Grounds. The city has received an unsolicited proposal from a private person to put in 3-5,000 temporary bleacher seats. So begins the slippery path. Please see the letter for details. Continue reading

Please Comment on 18 Spot Re-Zoning Projects

There is worrisome trend for the developer tail to be wagging the HRM Centre Plan. And for some folks to not have to follow the rules. HRM is asking the public to comment on 18 projects (many on or near the Halifax Common), that break rules and will hand hundreds of millions of dollars in extra floor space for developers to rent or sell – is this the best way to plan a city? Continue reading

HRM Planning Information Meeting – Wednesday Dec 7th 19 proposals at 1 meeting

Please attend this important meeting and make comments on the 19 proposed developments…

The classic 3-storey Coburg Apartments, is an Edwardian-era building on the South Common that is under threat from the Two developers hope to erect 16 & 30 storey and 20 & 26 storey high-rises in the single block between Carlton, College, Robie and Spring Garden Road under debelopment agreement applications. targeted growth area- Spring Garden Road bounded by Robie, College, Summer Streets and Camp Hill Cemetery.

The classic 3-storey Coburg Apartments, an Edwardian-era building at Spring Garden and Robie, on the South Common,  is one of a dozen+ buildings that will be demolished by two developers if their plans for 16 & 30 storey and 20 & 26 storey high-rises in the single block between Carlton, College, Robie and Spring Garden Road are approved.

Most of the 19 proposals are for highrises that break existing height restrictions and are out-of -scale with neighbourhoods. They’ll cause dozens of affordable small-scale, mixed-use residential units, commercial spaces & historic houses to be demolished. This will harm Halifax’s Common in various ways. Examples are:

  • 13 storey on Robie, Cunard – Compton
  • 14 storey on Robie St, Pepperell – Shirley
  • 16 & 30 storey on Spring Garden Rd & Robie west of Carlton
  • 20 & 26 storey on College & Robie St west of Carlton

Continue reading

Centre Plan – The Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Stupid

There’s one good change for the Halifax Common in the draft Centre Plan but the rest seems like more bad news…
The Good The draft Centre Plan designates the Halifax Common a “Cultural Landscape” (p 54) but now it needs to make it meaningful by adopting the 1994 Halifax Common Plan as part of the Municipal Planning Strategy so the primary goals to not give up and to re-capture open space on Halifax’s Common are met not just platitudes.

The Bad Robie Street and a dozen other streets such as Cunard, Agricola, Chebucto are designated as “Corridors” with a goal of “redevelopment of new housing, commercial spaces and job opportunities in mixed use buildings” (p 96). By increasing permitted building heights to 4-6 storeys along Robie Street, the Centre Plan will create an incentive for developers to chew through a long-established, small-scale, mixed-use, Continue reading

HRM Planning Jamboree – Developers Take a Lesson from The Donald

 Mr. Trump in 1980 with a model of Trump Tower. Though it was built with 58 floors, he billed it as having 68 floors. Credit Don Hogan Charles/The New York Times

Mr. Trump in 1980 with a model of Trump Tower. Though it was built with 58 floors, he billed it as having 68 floors. Credit Don Hogan Charles/The New York Times

If  you’ve been watching the Halifax development scene maybe you weren’t surprized about the US election. You already know there are no rules.  A one-stop shopping jamboree for 18 new development agreement applications, with an open house style HRM Public Information Meeting on Wednesday, December 7, 12–2 and 6–8, at the Atlantica Hotel will determine the fate of a neighbourhood near you. If approved, many of the proposals will impact the Halifax Common, its perimeter and existing small scale mixed-use residential units, commercial spaces and heritage houses. Some example proposals include:

  • 13 storey tower at Robie between Cunard and Compton (NW corner of North Common);
  • 14 storey tower on Robie at Pepperell (near Common Roots Farm);
  • 16 & 30 storey towers at Spring Garden Road west of Carlton St.;
  • 20 & 26 storey towers on College, between Robie and Carlton St.

Yup, it feels like we’re living a paragraph out of a book that The Donald wrote. Got some architecturally note-worthy property? Go ahead demolish it. Want to replace it with a building that’s too tall for the lot size and doesn’t match the zoning?  Win approval by promising mixed-use, retail, office and residential. Want even more height?  Get more storeys in exchange for a “public” atrium, call it “public space” and put in kiosks to sell your own stuff. Or add art and parking. Maybe a bench? The higher, the richer. Don’t fuss, go ahead wreck the character of the neighbourhood. Call it densification, colour it walkable and sell it as sustainable.  Of course the developers can plan how the city will look – don’t they own the land? Don’t they make the rules?
This week Centre Plan presentations and consultations are at Dartmouth Sportsplex on November 16 & Dal on 17th.  December 2nd is the deadline to submit comments. Details here: http://centreplan.ca/

Good Planning Needs Adequate Notification & Time to Reflect – – A letter from Howard Epstein, FHC to Jacob Ritchie, HRM

FHC Board Member, Howard Epstein, has written to HRM’s Jacob Ritchie following a recent meeting to relate points of common understanding and to reiterate FHC concerns with about the Halifax Common and the proposed Centre Plan.

In summary:

The Halifax Common is a special place distinct from normal parks. The 1994 Halifax Common Plan could be integrated into the Centre plan. Intensive development on Spring Garden Road at Robie is not compatible with the 1994 plan.

The Proposed Centre Plan should:

  • favour medium-height buildings
  • distribute density
  • delay consideration of any new proposals until Plan is final and density bonusing is in place
  • respect public input such as in the case of the proposed Willow Tree developments
  • include a mix of affordable housing; prioritize in-fill of vacant lands
  • justify the case, if there is one, for towers and place more emphasis on sustainability with real targets for GHG emissions reductions, timelines and measures.

The letter follows here: Continue reading