“Protecting Space for Health & Well-being”-FHC AGM, November 30

We are very pleased that Dr. Sara Kirk, Professor of Health Promotion and Scientific Director of the Healthy Populations Institute at Dalhousie University will join us as the guest speaker.
Dr. Kirk’s presentation “Protecting Space for Health & Well-being” will be about the physical and mental health benefits of spending time in public open spaces and why protecting (or expanding) these spaces should be a priority.
As little as twenty percent of the Halifax Common’s 240 acres remains as public open space. 

We’ll earn more about why we need to change that and more for healthy populations!

When: Tuesday, November 30, 2021 – 6:30-8:45PM

Where: Central Public Library, BMO Room, 2nd floor, Spring Garden Road at Queen Street
Note: Proof of vaccination and masks are required.
Agenda- FHC AGM, November 30, 2021
1.    Call to order -6:30
2.    Minutes of previous AGM approval 
3.    Report of activities 
4.    Financial report 
5.    “Protecting Space for Health & Well-being” – presentation by Dr Sara Kirk
6.    Election of Board members & Executive (Please see note below)
7.    Future Actions & Priorities
8.    AOB
9.    Adjournment
Note: Nominations for the board from the floor are welcome but should be accompanied by a statement of interest and background information that can be reviewed and will be voted on within a two-week timeframe. The mandatory requirement for an individual to be eligible to be a director of FHC is that they support the objectives of the organization’s membership as follows. 
Friends of Halifax Common membership is open to anyone committed to caring for the Halifax Common in the spirit of the original 1763 land grant “for the use of the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax as Common forever” and to the 1994 Halifax Common Plan which commits the City of Halifax to the following:
Section 2.1  “The amount of public open space in the Halifax Common will not be decreased.”
Section 3.1 “The amount of land owned by the City of Halifax” will not be decreased.”
Section 3.2 “The city will seek to increase the amount of land under city ownership through recapture of lands.”

Lloyd Alter: Groundbreaking Study Highlights How Design and Development Decisions Affect Embodied Carbon


Groundbreaking study on embodied carbon comparing new build to retrofit and addition in Halifax Canada ignored by city, author told to ‘stop making things up.” Should be studied closely, big implications.” writes Lloyd Alter, well-known author at Treehugger in a review of the new report, Buildings For a Climate Crisis, by Peggy Cameron. “The lessons of a study from Halifax, Canada can be applied anywhere,”

Read Alter’s review of the study.

Download Buildings For the Climate Crisis

Image: Halifax Waterfront. Henryk Sadura/ Getty Images

Alter writes: Many booming cities are desperately short of housing and developers are responding with even taller buildings. Many urbanists believe this is a good thing, although studies have shown that life-cycle and operating emissions increase with building height. This is why I have always pitched what I called the “Goldilocks Density,” making the case that you can get significant residential densities without tall buildings—just look at Paris or Montreal.

Buildings For the Climate Crisis – A Halifax Case Study by Peggy Cameron

This new report “Buildings for the Climate Crisis – A Halifax Case Studyby Peggy Cameron, MES reveals the high levels of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) released up-front by high rise construction, developments, and demolitions. By comparing these to more climate-friendly in-fill buildings (carbon-neutral or carbon-positive) it offers scenarios that are better matched for what society and Earth need at this time.

For the report a Canadian interdisciplinary climate change strategy consultancy Mantle Developments, conducted preliminary estimates of global warming gases associated with:
— two Halifax based proposals;
— the associated demolition of 12-14 historic houses;
— the replacement of the demolished floor area, equivalent to a 12-storey building and,
— a 9-storey in-fill option modeled by the citizen’s group Development Options Halifax.
The report details impacts of the present developments and associated demolitions on the climate crisis and links this to the affordable housing crisis.

This report proposes options in the path forward including policy recommendations for what needs to change if we are planning for an inclusive society and for environmental remediation. With the release of this report the author aims to encourage all parties to seize this important and timely opportunity to re-think accepted practices of the building, construction, and demolition industry.

Globally, green houses gasses (GHG’s) from the materials and products used to build buildings is 11% as embodied or upfront carbon and approximately 29% as operational carbon from heating, lighting and cooling.



Download Full Report:
Buildings for the Climate Crisis

Download Executive Summary:
Buildings For the Climate Crisis
-Executive Summary

Download for Policy Makers:
Building For the Climate Crisis –
The Path Forward and Recommendation

Media Images Downloads:

RALPH SURETTE: The lowdown on high-rises: they fuel the climate crisis

(published in The Chronicle Herald, October 28, 2021)

(Halifax/Ki’jupuk) A global environment conference called COP26 is opening this weekend in Scotland to deal with the climate crisis that the world promised to deal with as far back as the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, but has so far failed to control.  Some progress is being made, but far from enough to prevent more climate catastrophes, and in many ways it’s getting worse.

A construction crane dominates a neighbourhood at the foot of Quinpool Road (at the North West Arm) in Halifax in June. – Tim Krochak, Chronicle Herald

So perhaps the climate showdown we’ve avoided for so long is on for real. And in order to deal with it, every aspect of the wasteful ways we’ve built up since the 1950s have to be reamed out. Some of these, we don’t even think about, and may even be wrongly presented as the climate-friendly option.

One of these is highlighted in a report entitled Buildings for the Climate Crisis — A Halifax Case Study (at www.halifaxcommon.ca), coinciding with HRM council passing their complex “Centre Plan” this week that limits heights on the Halifax peninsula, but which opponents argue leaves developers wiggle room to jack them up to 30 storeys.

The standard presumption is that high-rises, by creating a dense population downtown, put a check on urban sprawl — which also means less commuting and suburban highways, thus better for the environment.

There’s increasing pushback on this. For one thing, according to the scientific calculations, building above eight or nine storeys is extremely carbon-intensive. So is the demolition of existing buildings to make way for these huge projects. And finally, since high-rise towers tend to have expensive rents, they also replace affordable housing, and that tends to push lower-income renters farther out, defeating the purpose.

Overall, buildings account for some 40 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions globally. Concern over this has focused on their operations — mainly heating and cooling — but has ignored the construction/demolition cycle, although it accounts for as much as 11 per cent of global emissions.

So if you need housing — and we do — what’s the alternative? The alternative, according to this and other studies, is “low-rise,” in which pretty well as many units are created (and preserved) as what the high-rise would offer, at lower cost and drastically reduced emissions — plus preserving some of the character of the city. 

Another study I found, by American and British researchers (available at APJ Urban Sustainability, an online magazine), which proposes to “decouple density from tallness” fingered Paris as an example of high-density, low-rise decent living. As in most European cities that are careful about their heritage, there’s hardly one apartment building over 10 storeys in the city.

The Halifax report outlines its own low-rise proposal for the areas in question in HRM’s Centre Plan and beyond. Although the high-rise philosophy still dominates in the world (taken to absurdity in Saudi Arabia, where they’re building a vanity tower one kilometre high), many cities are also turning away from it, notably Tokyo, as of now the world’s largest city. In addition to keeping apartment towers below nine or 10 storeys, low-rise involves renovating and expanding existing buildings: in Halifax, for example, adding a third storey to existing houses where it’s fitting, and other inventive ways to add an apartment here and there, and “in-filling’” — that is, building new units on empty spaces, of which there are a surprising number even on the peninsula, according to the report.

At any rate, it’s about stopping the rampant demolition, of which Halifax may be a champion. Between 2003 and 2020 some 2,535 demolition permits were handed out in HRM — many of them for historic buildings — with a floor space that would cover 17 city blocks, according to the report. 

And the tempo is increasing. The Royal Institute of British Architects has just put out a call to “stop the demolition” in Britain because it causes too many carbon emissions.

The report also states that low-rise is just as profitable for developers, as the materials are cheaper and the work is done faster. But, of course, it’s not as sexy and probably not as useful as a long-term investment. And Halifax, in its developer-ridden soul, wants stuff sticking in the air like the big boys. Or does it?

The Halifax report was prepared by the Friends of the Commons and Development Options Halifax, two citizens’ groups, with carbon calculations by Mantle Developments, an Ontario-based sustainable-construction consultancy.

And, yes, I know what some of you are thinking: isn’t that the gang that’s always agitating against development, if not “progress” itself in Halifax? If so, get over it. The progress you’re talking about is what brought us to this climate crisis, and is in bad odour at COP26 and beyond. You’re on the wrong side of history. Stop the demolition.




Thank you to 500+ Citizens Who Petitioned For Changes to Centre Plan

A round of applause in gratitude to the 500+ citizens who asked the Mayor and Council Plan for All Citizens by making changes to the Centre Plan before adopting it. Unfortunately they voted unanimously to approve the Plan on Tuesday October 26th, 2021)) . How sad that they ignored our ask for better options to be included in the Plan. These were that it…

Article on Canadian politeness (sorry if it looks like a bank promo) :https://www.huffpost.com/archive/ca/entry/canadians-say-thank-you_b_11727136
Picture from: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_cultural_differences_shape_your_gratitude

  • Protect and create affordable housing;
  • Create 3-D models for public consultation in advance of adopting the Plan; 
  • Reduce demolitions – promote renovation and in-fill for distributed density; 
  • Reduce ‘extreme’ densification by lowering proposed building heights in Corridors, Targeted Growth Areas etc.;
  • Create and protect public parks – we need public open space!
  • Tackle the climate crisis with carbon budgets for all building/construction & operations;
  • Require public amenities such as daycares, community centres, recreational facilities etc.
    Be proud that you are on the public record as a person that supports a plan with a vision. We hope you’ll continue to ask the Mayor and Council to amend the plan and create more balance between the interests of society and thoes of private developers.
    Let others know https://www.facebook.com/pg/halifaxcommon/posts/

Call to Action: Public Hearings for Multiple Towers, September 7th

HRM is hosting two public hearings on September 7, 6pm (day after Labour Day) via zoom for Case 20761 and Case 22927. There has been huge public opposition to these proposals. This is a bad process. Don’t let it have a bad outcome. For action you can take see below. Ask others to help!

Case 20761 (red): Carlton Block at Robie, Spring Garden, College, Carlton

Case 20761 – Rouvali 28, 29-storey towers are being considered separately from Dexel’s Cast 20218 for 2 ~30-storey towers. Model by Hadrian Laing.

Developer Rouvalis wants TWO TOWERS, 28 and 29 storey + penthouses, at Robie and College. Confusingly, Case 20218 (orange) developer Dexel also wants TWO ~30-storey towers in the same block at Robie and Spring Garden, but these 2 developments are being considered separately. Dexel’s towers will be considered at a future public hearing for the 2 towers. If permitted together the FOUR ~30-storey towers will demolish 12-14 buildings, 100++ affordable units; an area equivalent to a 12-storey building. There will be stalls for ~861 cars. Constructing new towers will emit 31,000 tonnes+ of greenhouse gas. Development Options Halifax has modeled a 9-storey in-fill option that could create ~ 550 units and keep all but one building.

Case 22927 (orange): Willow Tree Block on Robie near Quinpool

Case 22927, Danny Chedrawe’s wants his 23-storey building (orange) between the 25-storey Armoyan / Shannex (red) and the 20-storey Welsford (not shown). This case is being considered separate from other towers ie Shannex/Armoyan, St. Pat’s etc. Model by Hadrian Laing.

A second public hearing on Sept 7th is for 23-storey Chedrawe development on Robie between the 25-storey Armoyan / Shannex and 20-storey Welsford. HRM Staff recommended 6-storeys. Council changed the rules.(https://www.halifaxcommon.ca/cancel-the-proposed-wsp-23-storey-high-rise/In a recent staff report 80% of the public submissions opposed this development. The Willow Tree Group worked for years to have a better process and result.

What you can do:

It’s your city.