Tag Archives: Queen Elizabeth High School

Rick Howe Interview: St Pat’s Land- Plan For Our Future

Common Roots Urban Farm is an inspiration. In 2007 instead of returning the former QEHS land to the Halifax Common as promised, HRM traded it to Capital Health. FHC and smart Capital Health decision-makers agreed that a community garden would be a good interim use. In the 5 years since a valid public consultation, gardening doula Jayme Melrose’s imaginative

In 5 years Jayme Melrose and her team of volunteers have transformed the QEHS land into a place of productive beauty. Let's have a vision for St Pat's that's bigger than a developer's profit.

The QEHS land is now a place of productive beauty. We need a vision for St Pat’s that is bigger than a developer’s profit.

guidance and amazing volunteers have transformed it into a productive, edible landscape. But it’s temporary.
Rick Howe’s interview with Peggy Cameron explains why the Mayor & Council’s decision to sell St. Pat’s is just as short-sighted as the loss of QEHS. Listen to the recording below and then write <clerks@halifax.ca> to tell them to keep the St Pat’s land public.

The Coast, Editorial – Looking for Common Sense

E D I TO R I A L by Bruce Wark

Looking for Common sense
The land deal between the city & the province chips another piece off of the Halifax Commons
Rodney - Common Sense?I call it city council’s royal fuck-up. The Queen’s High School
is being traded to the Queen’s Hospital for a new central library on—where else—Queen Street. And we’re all worse off. The deal means another chunk of the Halifax Common is about to disappear. It’s all part of a
land swap between city and province that council approved last week.
Believe it or not, the city is giving away 269,000 square feet of prime downtown land in return for 131,000 square feet of prime downtown land and paying nearly two million bucks for the privilege. Under the deal, the province gets the former Birks site on Barrington to build more
office space plus the Queen Elizabeth High site at Robie and Bell for expansion of the QE II Infirmary. In return, the city gets the block on Queen between Spring Garden and Morris for a central library, officespace, shops and housing.
City officials say the Queen Street land is more valuable than the QEH and Birks properties so that’s why the city is paying the province an extra $1.9 million and getting less than half the land. Even if that’s true, there’s another issue here that makes this land swap a real royal stinker. Council

Continue reading

Halifax Metro News – Hospital space trumps green space in Common decision

By Lindsay Jones

The Queen Elizabeth High School property is part of a land swap between the city and the province.

The Queen Elizabeth High School property is part of a land swap between the city and the province.

Regional council approved giving up the rest of the Queen Elizabeth High School land to become part of a hospital expansion yesterday.

The city is exchanging the former Halifax Common land, as well as several other parcels, with the province to help pay for land at the corner of Queen Street and Spring Garden Road. That’s the site where the city wants to build a new Central Library. Continue reading

Media Release – Common for Sale?

Is the Halifax Common for Sale?

HRM Council is going to sell the Queen Elizabeth High School site, Halifax Common land. This is to facilitate Flagship Developments on Spring Garden Road & Queen (the new public library) and the Grand Parade & Province House.

The Halifax Common Plan is very specific about the amount of city-owned land in the Halifax Common not being decreased (3.1). The Plan recommends preserving public open space for a variety of outdoor recreation and leisure activities or other suitable public uses.

It specifically mentions the Queen Elizabeth High School as being an example of a property to be returned to the city when it is declared surplus by the School Board. At 5.5 acres it is the largest parcel of land that could revert to public open green space.

Friends of the Halifax Common believes the newly constructed Halifax Infirmary Emergency site (which happened without due process) could be leased to the province BUT the balance of the Queen Elizabeth High School lands should become public open green space. Continue reading

Chronicle Herald Op Ed – Protecting Halifax’s Common Ground

Money spent by HRM for private and expensive Concerts on the Common would be better spent on protecting the Common for everyone.

Public money spent by HRM for private, expensive Concerts on the Common would be better spent on protecting the Common for everyone.

Recently, Friends of Halifax Common were informed HRM will begin electrical repairs to the Centennial Fountain on the North Common. This was conveyed to us as a “good news” story. Indeed there hasn’t been much good news about the Common for a long time.

The Halifax Common, Canada’s oldest urban park, was created in 1763 when King George III granted 240 acres “for the use of the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax forever.” Originally extending between Cunard and South Streets, bounded by Robie on the west Continue reading

Friends of Halifax Common Challenge Sale of Common Land – Media Release

Friends of Halifax Common (FHC) are calling on the provincial government to stop the sale of 5.5 acres of Halifax Common land at the former Queen Elizabeth High School (QEHS). The QEHS land is included in a land swap between HRM and the province. FHC says this a bad deal. HRM will lose public open green space, pay $1.9 million for the land swap but will acquire half as much as land as the province.

All the traded land will be for two “Flagship Developments” purportedly to create a livable, prosperous, vibrant, attractive urban and legislative precinct.”

“What’s wrong with the Halifax Common being the Flagship Un-development?” asks FHC co-chair Peggy Cameron. “Isn’t supporting public parks and open green space, places to walk a dog, throw a Frisbee, go for a run, or plant a garden just as important for creating a healthy, vibrant, livable city as building more buildings?”

“What’s at stake is the park used by many Halifax residents who live in apartments and are students, young families or seniors with low incomes,” said Cameron, noting that the skate park and only children’s play ground on the North Common are directly opposite the ambulance driveway to the new hospital emergency entrance.

By ignoring the 1994 Halifax Common Plan’s instruction to retain all land in the Halifax Common including the QEHS, Council continues to whittle away at the public area bounded by Cunard, South, Robie and North and South Park streets. Less than one-third of the original 235 acres of the Halifax Common remain.

“Where is the overall vision for how the city could be look? That scale of landmark is like New York’s Central Park,” FHC co-chair Beverly Miller explains. “Imagine the uproar in Manhattan if the City gave away 5.5 acres for a building.”

HRM’s staff report promises lots of green setbacks and walkways, but based on similar pledges when part of Tower Road was given to the VG hospital, the city’s track record on such promises is poor.

“It’s incredible that after Chebucto Road, that HRM is ‘easing traffic circulation’ by widening Bell Road 38 feet,” said Laena Garrison, Ecology Action Centre’s transportation expert. “The proposed bike lane’s location, on an ambulance route along a busy thoroughfare through a large intersection, is questionable in terms of safety” stated Garrison.

HRM needs the provincial government to pass Bill 204 to sell the Common. Presenters before Law Amendment’s Committee suggested the government help protect the Common by leasing the new emergency site to Capital Health but keeping the rest of the QEHS lot as green, open, and Common.

The British medical journal The Lancet recently reported that green space reduces the “health gap” between rich and poor http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7714950.stm The Regional Plan wants 15,000 – 20,000 more residents on the peninsula by 2025 without any plan for additional open space.

– 30 –

For more information contact:
Peggy Cameron, FHC co-chair and Executive: 902-492-4372
Beverly Miller, FHC co-chair and Executive: 902-429-9540