PAC meets Monday for input on Dexel’s proposed 14-storey highrise at Robie, Shirley, Peperell – directly across from the Common Roots Urban Farm and beside Hotel Atlantica. We need Halifax Common’s Master Plan not another high rise.
There’s good news- a few days ago HRM issued an RFP for the Master Plan for the Halifax Common. Next Council agreed to pay $4.1 million to help protect the Purcell’s Cove Backland. Mayor Savage’s statement, “As our city grows, it is more important than ever to preserve natural recreational spaces,” supports what many citizens believe and want. But planning for the preserving natural recreational spaces requires more than words.
Take the example of the Common Roots Urban Farm on the Central Common-it demonstrates the role nature can play in our lives- healing our spirit, minds and bodies and at the same time grow good food! Although Continue reading
Quinpool Road’s proposed future under the Centre Plan (this image does not include rule-breaking developments in process) Click on image to enlarge. Source: draft Centre Plan (March 2017) 107; heights added by the Willow Tree Group
In “A nightmare of evocation as Halifax falls to the wrecking ball,” author Larry Haven (The Coast Aug 17) gives a satirical glimpse into why we worry that Halifax is “surely and inexorably being destroyed by rampant developers and an obliging council.“
The worst is yet to come. A recent Willow Tree Group essay describes the draft Centre Plan’s proposed future for Quinpool Road, one of several targeted growth areas. Its illustration shown on the right is a mini-look at one of multiple Centre Plan areas where height restrictions will be increased to up to 20 storeys. It doesn’t include the proposed Robie Street Corridor where increased heights of 4-6 storeys all along the western edge of the Halifax Common, slowly killing off 100+ historic buildings so more cars and buses can zoom by. And what’s really missing is the huge number of rule-breaker developments approved in advance of the Centre Plan.
HRM Council recently added ~22 developments to the list. These buildings Continue reading
FHC’s latest letter to City Council asking them to not approve a 20- or 29-storey highrise at Robie & Quinpool, at City Hall’s April 25th public hearing included Brent Toderian’s
Brent Toderian, former Vancouver city planner now advocates for what his photo shows Halifax already has, “gentle density”.
“Canadian Cities need more gentle density to address housing crunch. The former Vancouver city planner writes that ground-oriented housing that’s denser than a detached house is the “missing middle” in housing needs.
Something’s changed since Mr. Toderian’s keynote speach for the Dexel Group’s 2016 PR campaign promoting towers on the single block of the Halifax Common at Robie, College, Spring Garden and Carlton. Now it seems he would agree that 16-, 23-, 26- and 30-storey highrises are the wrong kind of game changer as they are not conducive to “preserving community building blocks” as part of planning for resilient, diverse, complete and affordable neighbourhoods. But as he describes, this same block is an ideal candidate for in-fill within the middle of the block that would respectfully compliment the existing mixed-use, small-scale historic neighbourhood. Continue reading
Please attend this important meeting and make comments on the 19 proposed developments…
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
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
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/