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 BadRobie 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 →
Centre Plan Primary and Secondary Targeted Growth Areas
“We see the draft Centre Plan as making a bad situation worse. We urge a complete re-thinking of the draft Plan.” Howard Epstein, Board Member, Friends of Halifax Common
Below are FHC Board Member Howard Epstein’s comments on HRM’s June 27th draft Centre Plan Growth Scenarios submitted to HRM Community Advisory Committee. His letter addresses concerns about the Plan’s general approach and the failure to protect the Halifax Common. Click Here to read previous FHC submissions to HRM’s Centre Plan (PDF) and here (previous post).
August 5, 2016
I am writing on behalf of the membership of the Friends of the Halifax Common to offer comments on the draft Centre Plan.
While the main focus of the FHC is on those aspects of the draft Plan that have immediate impact on the Common, we see those matters as arising in an overall context. That is, the general approach of the draft Plan is also reflected in those portions that are directly related to the Common. These comments, therefore, start with the overall approach of the draft Plan, and then move to specific focus on the Common. Continue reading →
Fake public process offers 10-18 storey towers lost in space with Styrofoam trees configured as a donut. (Photo: Ted Pritchard, Chronicle Herald, 2016)
FHC’s Peggy Cameron speaks with Rick Howe’s about problems with the St Pat’s process and other development agreements in the city. The Peninsular Advisory Committee (PAC) will re-convene on June 27th to further discuss St Pat’s fate. There’s still time to tell the Mayor and Council to stop precluding the Centre Plan and take action to protect existing neighbourhoods. Write to them at email@example.com
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 →
HRM’s survey on the St. Pat’s site developments closes Jan 4th. BUT you can still email vodickr@Halifax.ca that you’d like to see like to see some 3-D models or dioramas. We need to understand what the cumulative impact of so many buildings will be.
Previous problems identified by FHC posts and a Willow Tree Group‘s editorial remain: a total floor area of 47,000m2 allows too much bulk and; a density of ~280 persons/acre compared to the 125 permitted is too high. These would permit 1 or 2 slab high-rises of 18- storeys and others of 7-13 storeys up to 60m wide. Without a master Centre Plan this is a bad precedent for proposed nearby developments.
Developers plan to stuff the block east of Victoria Park with highrises. HRMbyDesign leaves the public out of the picture. Its the developer’s decision to have million dollar condo owners hear the guy in the next building flush his toilet. Or watch him. The same kind of planning is happening at the St Pat’s site where no 3-D or modeled planning for proposed development is available.
If you want to imagine how bad, take a look at the new developments planned for South Park, Brenton and Clyde Street in Schmidtville next to Victoria Park. Smart citizens built a mock-up of what the city is allowing next to the Trillium. 3-D creates a very disturbing impression compared to flat diagrams and abstract numbers pitched by consultants.
St Pat’s is the public’s property. Tell the City to take the time to get the plan right. Its time to break out the lego, cardboard and glue sticks. Let’s design some public benefit.
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
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> to tell them to keep the St Pat’s land public.