In July 2016 HRM’s Design Review Committee (DRC) approved the controversial 16-storey Brenton Place. FHC’s letter to the DRC outlines its concerns…
WM Fares’ Brenton Place obtained an extra 3 storeys to add to the 13-storey height limit in exchange for unknown public art of unknown value. As Tim Bousquet writes: “Here’s the impossible view drawn by the architect, showing transparent trees, the elimination of overhead wires and parking metres, and the sky from Europa.” The public art is still a mystery.
Dear DRC Committee Members:
Please do not permit the extra height for the Brenton Place proposal.
The building is already controversial as it will block the sw side of the adjacent WM Fares Trillium and the high priced view. When WM Fares built the pre-HRMbyDesign Trillium on South Park Street across the street from the Halifax Common’s Victoria Park it already broke planning regulations by getting approved for 20-storeys where there was a 35 foot height restriction and completely ignoring the 1994 Halifax Common Plan. Continue reading
HRM’s Design Review Committee has approved Olympus Property’s South Park Loft an 11-story tower spanning the block between South Park and Brenton Streets directly across from the Halifax Common’s Victoria Park. The proposed building is the 3rd recently approved highrise in the single block of South Park Street between Spring Garden Road and Clyde St.
Two historic houses at 1469 and 1473 South Park Street will be demolished. Approving the exclusive 19-storey Trillium in 2008 resulted in 5 historic houses being demolished.
Three multi-unit houses at 1469-73 South Park St and 1474 Brenton St. will be demolished. The 1994 Halifax Common Plan makes frequent mention of historic character of the houses and places of historic importance and the Halifax Common designated as an historic site under the City Charter in 1971. The “intent of the Common Plan was to improve the Victoria Park itself, the view of it and the view from South Street up South Park to the Citadel-that is the context or surrounding area and its “distinct character”. As no new high-rises were contemplated 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.
This December 10, 2015 letter to Design Review Committee Members, Mayor Mike Savage and Regional Council presents reasons why the proposed project South Park Loft should not be permitted to be constructed as planned.
- 1994 Halifax Common Plan:
The 1994 Halifax Common Plan provides goals, objections and specific direction based on the foundations laid through extensive public consultations, and are in support of recognized important public values such as the need for public open space or views to open space and public open green space. It is the role of the Design Review Committee and the Mayor and Council to understand that these public values still remain and ensure that they are respected.
There are any number of general problems with the effect of this proposal on the area and on Victoria Park, located on the Halifax Common and which contravene the 1994 Halifax Common Plan. The development is too high and massive; casts too much shadow; creates too much wind; destroys too much built, character, affordable housing; occupies too much green space and open sky; dominates views from and of Victoria Park and the Public Gardens; and degrades and overpowers the historic Schmiditville District.
- Climate Change- Insurance Bureau of Canada Report
We’re rapidly building our city and our province into a bigger and deeper green house gas emission mess. A recent Insurance Bureau of Canada Report. https://www.ibc.ca/on/resources/media-centre/media-releases/new-study-estimates-future-costs-of-climate-change describes future costs for Halifax (and therefore the province) from climate change. What is the governance structure in place to address the urgently needed reduction of ghg emissions associated with this (and other) building that includes a lifecycle analyses? This would track ghg associated with demolition materials and disposal, new materials production and composition and other associated infrastructure; energy consumption etc.
What building standards are in place to ensure this design will withstand high winds, protect right-to-light, promote passive solar, solar thermal, solar pv, increasing permeable surfaces, green space etc. Based on present construction in the city we still seem to think that White Juan and Wet Juan are out of the ordinary rather than potentially a new norm.
The Greenest Building is the One that is Already Built:
“building reuse almost always offers environmental savings over demolition and new construction. Moreover, it can take between 10 and 80 years for a new, energy-efficient building to overcome, through more efficient operations, the negative climate change impacts that were created during the construction process.”
Older, Smaller, Better – more economically viable
The mixed-style, small-scale, multipurpose character that much of Halifax has is exactly what keeps it interesting, livable and economically viable. For proof beyond my opinion I draw your attention to “Older, Smaller, Better” a 2014 report by The Preservation Green Lab. It provides the most complete empirical validation to date that neighbourhoods with a mix of older, smaller buildings of diverse age support greater levels of economic and social activity than areas dominated by newer, larger buildings. For details see:
There are many options for developing a sustainable city but buildings such as this have no place in that urgently needed type of plan.
After the Paris Climate Change Conference we need to reconsider the path we are on. For some inspiration please see Vancouver’s Greenest City Plan as one example of a better way to envision our future: https://vancouver.ca/green-vancouver/greenest-city-action-plan.aspx