Author Archives: FHCwebadmin

More Pavement Slated for the Central Common

FHC has learned the Pavilion parking lot on the Central Common is slated for paving. Soon. The restricted (not public) lot is directly beside the wading pool and the pathway that follows the route of Freshwater Brook through the Central Common. Why is the city’s priority cars and paving the Common instead of landscaping the pathway? Hundreds of walkers and cyclists use the route everyday-why not make it beautiful, add some benches or how about a few tables with roofs?

from https://www.vox.com/xpress/2014/11/18/7236471/cars-pedestrians-roads

“This brilliant illustration shows how much public space we’ve surrendered to cars” is from an article of the same name at https://www.vox.com/xpress/2014/11/18/7236471/cars-pedestrians-roads

Citizens have raised concerns about safety for pedestrians in this area for years. Up to 18 or 20 cars crowd into the lot and until recently drivers would pull out along the public pathway and into the crosswalk on Cogswell Street to exit.

An easy solution would have been to ticket illegal vehicles and lock the gate. Instead, the city unnecessarily replaced the old gate with a new but still unlocked gate, and installed an unattractive chain link fence and a badly designed barrier gate along the pathway that interferes with cyclists and walkers. Cars continue to illegally park at the lot and are still a hazard to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Soon the vehicles will have an asphalt surface but the waders, walkers and cyclists will only get the run-off.

Want to stop more Halifax Common from being paved? Write the Mayor and Council at clerks@halifax.ca

Blockbuster Highrise Proposed for Quinpool & Robie

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. A public meeting will be scheduled. Please read below to learn what the implications are and how you can be involved.

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.

Near the Willow Tree intersection (Quiinpool Road, Robie & Parker Streets), two developers are trying to increase height limits and reduce or eliminate open space and set-back requirements. These are applications for spot-rezoning. The proposed spot-developments are looking for major exceptions to present land-use by-laws that are based on broad and comprehensive public consultation. These existing plans and regulations provide a predictable framework that guides development.

Unfortunately this kind of block-busting creates exactly the sort of controversy that blames Haligonians for being against developers and change. Developer George Armoyan banned from city buildings due to threatening behaviour | The Chronicle Herald

Too bad, because a 2013 Stantec Report, commissioned by the city concluded projected density requirements can met under the existing planning rules.

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Effect of Spot-Rezoning on the Halifax Common
The 1994 Halifax Common Plan emphasizes that views, streetscapes and trees are an essential features of the Halifax Common and its perimeter. Spot-developments allowing high-rises will permanently alter the experience of being on the Halifax Common by blocking the view and sky, increasing the shadows and increasing the wind. When you walk home from downtown the western sky at this location will be blocked. People working or living in the private sky-scrapers will be the private owners or our Common view. As well, it sets a precedent for block busting and breaking height restrictions with any future developers who are hoping to re-develop their properties with high-rises anywhere around the perimeter of the Halifax Common.

An on-line public survey by HRM staff about these projects does not offer the option of “no change to allowable height” or “no change to allowable set-backs” but you can write this as you preferred choice in the comment section. The survey is also incorrect about the shadow effect of tall-thin buildings being less than shorter ones.

Some details:
APL Redevelopment: Presently, the corner of Quinpool and Parker Streets has a maximum allowable height of ~ 5 and 14 storeys, north-west of the Willow Tree. The APL re-development proposal wants 12 storeys (3 times the allowable maximum) and 28 storeys (2 times the allowable maximum).

Westwood Redevelopment: The former Cruikshank’s funeral home (2 storeys) and a single family home (2 storeys) at 2032-2050 Robie Street, north-west of the Willow Tree has a maximum allowable height of ~ 4 storeys. The Westwood re-development proposal wants 24 storeys or 6 times the allowable maximum height.

Setbacks: Existing regulations requires that apartments have a set back of 20 or 10 feet to reduce the effect on the neighbouring properties such as solar loss or wind. Both developers are looking for complete exemptions.

In 2013 study HRM commissioned a Stantec report that concluded there is enough existing development potential within the Regional Capital to meet future density targets set out in the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy based on EXISTING height allowances. Changing the rules to favour individual developers isn’t necessary to achieve density and existing neighbourhoods can continue to be protected.

The Halifax City Staff report favours density but ignores the results of its own Stantec Report.

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Some Height Comparisons

  • Welsford Apt. – 19 storeys
  • Atlantic Hotel – 16 storeys
  • Quinpool Towers – 12 storeys
  • Aliant Building – 21 storeys
  • Fenwick Towers – 32 storeys
  • APL Proposal – 28 & 12 storeys (allowed now – 4-storey & 16 storey)
  • Westwood Proposal– 24 storeys (allowed now – 4 storey)

Concerned? Write the Mayor and Council directly at: clerks@halifax.ca

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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Interview ~ Invasive Species Phylum Paveia, News 95.7 – Rick Howe Show

Phylum Paveia, Lapilus civitis

Phylum Paveia, Lapilus civitis

 

Listen and learn about the invasive Phylum Paveia, responsible for the creeping disappearance of green space on the Halifax Common…

 

Catalogue Launch – Celebrate the Common 250

Celebrate the Common 250 2014In October of 2014, Friends of the Halifax Common organized four days of activities to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the Halifax Common. The Halifax Common came into being when the land was given to the “common folk” of Halifax by King George III “to and for the use of the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax as Common, forever”. To further mark this anniversary we published the Illustrated Catalogue “Celebrate the Common 250”.

Within the 24 pages of this historical documentary book are present-day photographs taken by Alvin Comitor interspersed with archival photographs and images. Accompanying text describes the gradual diminution of the lands allocated to the Halifax Common, south to north, over the past 250 years.

To view the catalogue on line CLICK HERE.

For beautiful print copies Contact Us. A donation of $10 per book is suggested but not required.

Photographic Exibition: Parking the Common, Documentation of Phylum Paveia

View On Line: Parking the Common, Documentation of Phylum Paveia

small-e-carde-card-page247This study classifies invading species of Phylum Paveia (parking lot) responsible for the creeping disappearance of the Halifax Common. Ecological examination reveals P.Paveia colonizes territory replacing endangered natives such as Lawnis tranquilis, Gardenia publica and Serenis communis.  Identified Paveias include Genera Bituminus (asphalt), Lapillius (gravel) and Cementus (cement) and species civitis (city), ecclesiais (church), hospitalis (hospital), imperium canadis (federal government), imperium nova scotis (provincial government), privatis (private), scholis (school), and universitis (university).  This study raises doubt about notions of improvement historically rooted in imperialist ideology that, unless mitigated, will result in further colonization.