Tag Archives: density

April 25th Public Hearing on 20-storeys is About Taking from the Common

Imagine standing on the North or Central Common and looking to the west, to see a 20-storey building, (2 storeys taller than the new convention centre) blocking the sky.

HRM’s Public Hearing for Armoyan’s proposal for the Willow Tree is April 25th, 6 pm at City Hall. But Friends of Halifax Common 10-year effort to have HRM honour its 1994 commitment to develop an integrated master plan for the Halifax Common is ignored.

The 240 acre Halifax Common is a unique parcel granted by King George III in 1763 “to and for the use of the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax as Commons forever”. FHC acknowledges the blight of the legacy of colonialism, but uniquely, the Common belongs in equal measure for joint use to the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax, forever.

It is wrong for HRM Council to be taking decisions outside of the context of a master plan, on matters that have a long-term, bad implication for the Halifax Common. Of the 240 acre grant only the remnant of the North Common remains as largely open space. Armoyan’s proposal for 29-storeys to take advantage of luxury views from Quiinpool & Robie is three times what’s permitted. HRM Council’s decision to consider 20-storeys is two times the 10-storey legal zoning.

Common citizens of Halifax have provided lots of evidence as to why this project has no grounds in regulations (at least 9 planning regulations are broken) or merit on a measure of common sense…more shadow, more wind, blocked views, too much height, mass, density, traffic, congestion, reduced diversity and affordability, degradation of character buildings, destabilization of the neighbourhood and Quinpool Road. etc.  All for a private developer and his urban elite.

Despite FHC’s best effort there’s nary a mention of the 1994 Halifax Common Plan in HRM Staff reports and their bias to support the project has only hardened their resolve to wiggle and break rules. It might be HRM Chief Planner Bob Bjerke’s vision to “create an urban form that feels and functions as a cohesive unit (aka a skyscraper zone) at this corner, but is it the right of the HRM Council to aid and abet in stealing from the Common good? Or to ignore the will and interests of the inhabitants who are the rightful shared owners of the space and will be the most affected by fallout from short-sighted decisions?

Its quite a statement on democracy these days when the debate is about having the developer make enough profit without any attention as to what the real cost is and who pays.

So please participate – Write to clerks@halifax.ca & Attend the April 25th public hearing, 6pm at City Hall. Help shed a bit of light on the problems with the process and the proposal so Council will have a better view on why they need to play fair.

There are many good places for good development to take place in Halifax that respect the common good.

Are Dexel Developers Slick Marketers Using Brent Toderian & Bob Bjerke?

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 May 2016 presentation, Density Done Well, Vancouver’s former chief planner Brent Toderian a paid Dexel consultant and highrise advocate, left out significant information in his love-in for Dexel’s “game- Continue reading

Residents say Armoyen’s 29-storeys is too tall for neighbourhood

shadows_feb-1_4pm_west_smallIt’s Deja view!
A 29-storey tower
one of  two developments proposed at the corner of Robie & Quinpool, next to  the Halifax Common and residential neighbourhoods west of Robie Street is too high according to 80+ attending a Sept 17th public meeting.  At just 20′ shorter than Fenwick Tower the building is potentially the second tallest building in Halifax but proposed for a site presently restricted to 145′.  Of 20+ citizens speaking only one person, representing the Quinpool Business Commission supported the proposal.  See CBC’s Coverage of the Public Meeting

View the developer’s drawings

Visit the Willow Tree Group website for a critical evaluation of these two projects.
Follow the Willow Tree Group on Twitter

St Pat’s Background Report Inaccurate, Inadequate & Biased

HRM has posted a background report by WSP Canada Inc. about the former St. Patrick’s High School site (Quinpool 6067) in advance of Wendesday’s meeting. The three concept designs are not  yet avalable.  Errors and omissions in the report are detailed below. The report

St Pat's Process Flawed

St Pat’s Process Deeply Flawed (Photo-Rebecca Lau/Global News)

would be a very faulty basis for a public consultation and should be withdrawn and revised before the consultation starts.

The report is clearly biased towards a large scale development despite a 2013 Stantec Report commissioned by HRM determined that there is sufficient development capacity in the Regional Capital to meet density targets for the next 25 years. Presently there is equivalent to 20 empty blocks of land in the downtown, most used as parking lots and most with existing development agreements and yet  the report does not consider retaining this land as public open space.  Below is a list of the problems, followed by some discussion.

1.  The report does not mention the existing height limit on the property.
2.  The report has an inadequate discussion of the Quinpool Road Commercial Area Plan (QRCAP).
3.  The densities on surrounding blocks are calculated incorrectly.
4.  The wind consultants did not consider the effect of winds on Cogswell Park, between Windsor, Parker and Welsford Streets.
5.  The report starts with a density that is twice as great as the density allowed in this part of Halifax.


  1. The report does not mention the existing height limit on the property.

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Halifax Common vs. Block Buster Highrises

 Presently there are 2 proposals by 2 developers for 3 block-buster towers of 28, 24 and 12 storeys near the Willow Tree intersection. (For comparison, Fenwick Towers is 32 storeys and Bell Aliant is 22 storeys) These highrises are not permitted under present planning regulations, set a bad precedent and will harm the Halifax Common experience.  Please read below to learn what the implications are and how you can be involved.
The proposed developments will block  the common view of the western sky and will increase wind, shadow and traffic.

The proposed developments will block the common view of the western sky and will increase wind, shadow and traffic.

Block-Busting – When developers apply for special exemptions or changes to smaller parcels of land that ignore an existing master plan and are at odds with a big picture view of what is permitted under existing zoning regulations its known as block-busting or spot-rezoning.
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