Author Archives: FHC Editor

April 15 – FHC Follow Up Letter to Parks Canada re Garrison Ground

Thanks very much to Parks Canada for the meeting about the provincial government request for parking on the Garrison Ground. Despite sufficient lead time the QEII hospital redevelopment team is intent on ignoring the health, social, cultural, economic value of protecting and expanding green space. It’s time to pursue available, proven better options for staff and patient transportation. This must not include paving the Halifax Citadel National Park’s Garrison Grounds for parking.
Details here: 2024 FHC April letter to Parks Canada copy.pages

NS Health’s proposed parking lot paving project on the Garrison Ground at Parks Canada’s Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

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Trees at Willow Tree intersection - soon to be cut down

Shame – Premier Houston & Mayor Savage Ignore ~3,400 Citizens & CUT 20 Robie & Bell Road Trees!

When FHC heard Premier Houston’s provincial government wanted Mayor Savage and HRM’s permission to cut 37 trees on Robie, Bell Road & Summer for the QEII hospital expansion, we knew there was a better option — take the building back from the edge so the tree roots were safe. Together our collective effort reduced the number of cuts to ~20. But HRM issued permits and cut ~20 trees despite opposition from ~3,400 citizens. In a climate crisis and knowing the importance of trees to our city and personal health, governments & builders must do better. Trees and Healthcare need to co-exist. Shame.
Up next? Premier Houston’s Health & Wellness wants Parks Canada to pave green space on the Halifax Citadel National Park’s Garrison Grounds for hospital parking.  Why is the Premier and his Minister of of Health determined to wreck Halifax’s public realm for the QEII hospital expansion? Shame.

Trees at Willow Tree intersection - soon to be cut down

Photo: Several of the 20 trees along Robie St. & Bell Rd. that  Premier Houston and Mayor Savage allowed to be cut down to expand the QEII Hospital complex.

See below for Our Actions to Help Protect Our Trees!

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(April 7) FHC to Minister Guilbeault – Do Not Pave Halifax Citadel’s Garrison Ground for Parking

“It is completely unacceptable that you as Minister of Environment and Climate Change, or a department of your government would contemplate such a thing as paving green space for expanding parking given its health, social, cultural, historic, environmental importance and negative impact on these. Or support the ongoing destruction of our environment. Do not permit the paving of the Garrison Ground. Please work to ensure that this plan does not proceed.” Details:
2024 FHC letter Guilbeault, Paving Garrrison Ground copy.pages

NS Health’s proposed parking lot paving project on the Garrison Ground at Parks Canada’s Halifax Citadel National Historic Site

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Todd Veinotte Asks FHC About Paving the Garrison Ground for Healthcare Parking

(Ki’jupuk) Todd Veinotte & Peggy Cameron discuss the Nova Scotia’s Department of Health pitch to Parks Canada to pave more green space on the Halifax Citadel’s Garrison Grounds for healthcare parking. Already ~30% of the Common is parking/parkades, mostly hospital. Have a listen, learn more about better options. Then please write to Parks Canada to say “no way!” April 24th deadline: halifax@pc.gc.ca 
Include: Steven.Guilbeault@parl.gc.ca  andy.fillmore@parl.gc.ca 
To help you, please see the list of concerns below Todd’s pic.
FHC has been working for better transportations options since 2007. (See Tag)

Below are some concerns to mention in your email

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HRM Adopts Piecemeal Halifax Common Master Plan – No Legal Protection

The Halifax Common Master Plan Review and Implementation Plan was adopted by HRM Council on January 23, 2024. In February 2022 HRM Council directed staff to undertake further public consultation and review as the masterplan process begun in 2017. The public had not seen the plan since pre Covid and had little awareness of it. HRM staff chose to not host any public information or consultation sessions but sought feed back via a Shape Your City on-line survey for 9 months.
The presentation to HRM Council by HRM staff Carol Kodiak Roberts begins at 4:37. Council comments begin with Waye Mason at 4:48. Most of the discussion is around the stadium. HRM Staff are awkward in their answers. Councillor Mancini is excited. Councillor Patty Cuttell gives the best insight to “All winners no losers,” (5:06) Continue reading

HRM Council Approves Carbon Bombs for Carlton Block

On January 23 HRM Council voted to give the Dexel / Lawen development even more benefit but still without any public benefit in exchange. For almost a decade HRM Council and staff ignored public concerns about the Lawen and the Rouvalis families’ two projects and refused requests that the four towers be considered together. Citizens support the need for development and density but want better options. Now the combined impact on the existing/future affordability, climate, traffic, community, heritage, wind, shadow, noise etc. will only be understood in real time. HRM made no attempt to balance the private, for-profit interests of the developer with societal needs.  The HRM public hearing recording begins at 8:08 & the citizen speakers at 8:34 -Its worth the watch.  See details below the video.

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FHC Writes to Ms. Maggie MacDonald, HRM Executive Director Parks & Recreation

FHC sent a letter to HRM’s Executive Director of Parks & Recreation Ms Maggie MacDonald to with information for her use in writing a staff report for the HRM Standing Committee on Community Planning and Economic Development about the Wanderers Grounds, particularly in the context of the proposal Mr. Derek Martin made for a long-term lease of a publicly funded stadium.

As the matter of the public funding stadiums is as yet untested in Halifax we recommend the Journal of Economic Surveys’ February 2022 article, The Impact of Professional Sports Franchises and Venues on Local Economies: A Comprehensive Survey. This recent analysis of 130 studies on the economic impact of publicly financed sports venue…

“…confirms the decades-old consensus of very limited economic impacts of professional sports teams and stadiums. Even with added non-pecuniary social benefits from quality-of-life externalities and civic pride, welfare improvements from hosting teams tend to fall well short of covering public outlays. Thus, the large subsidies commonly devoted to constructing professional sports venues are not justified as worthwhile public investments.”
(https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4022547)

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Todd Veinotte & FHC’s Howard Epstein re HRM’s Proposed $40m Stadium Build

Listen to Todd Veinotte’s interview with Howard Epstein about SEA/Derek Martin’s pitch for HRM to spend $40 million on a permanent stadium for his private use and profit for thirty years. 

Watch Derek Martin/SEA pitch to HRM Community Planning and Economic Development standing committee along with presentations by Howard Epstein starts at 13:03, David Bentley and Vince Calderhead here:

The Wanderers Grounds was fully used by amateur players prior ot HRM’s deal for a ‘temporary pop-up stadium’ – HRM’s 2017 staff report stated that if it was successful was to go elsewhere, no park space would be lost.

FHC to HRM Community Planning & Economic Develoment Standing Committee

The Wanderers Grounds was fully used by amateur players like this QEHS football team (2015) before HRM paid hundreds of thousands for field upgrades, lights and on-going utility/maintenance for a professional private for-profit soccer team takeover.

Dear HRM CPED Committee Members:
Re- Wanderers Grounds – FHC Comments
FHC’s FOIPOP information received Sept 11and attached below shows that the Wanderers Grounds was used almost exclusively by Derek Martin/SEA activities with virtually nothing for amateur players. This is similar to two previous FOIPOPs. Martin/SEA private-for-profit stadium is consistently shutting out amateur players year after year.
ARG-23.24-00118 – Response Letter 00118 – Responsive Record (In Full)

HRM’s 2017 staff report wrote: Continue reading

Todd Veinotte- Interview re Ron Pink’s letter to HRM on Privatization of Wanderers Grounds

In 2018 just before the start of public consultation for the Halifax Common Master Plan HRM signed a contract with a private, professional, for-profit soccer club for a temporary “pop-up” stadium on the Wanderers Grounds.  According to the 2017 HRM staff report, prior to this agreement amateur players of all ages and gender fully used the field for football, touch football, rugby, lacrosse, frisbee and soccer— an estimated 325 hours. (Even more had the field been maintained.) The report also states that if the club was successful they would have to move elsewhere-no park space would be lost. Public tax dollars paid for initial ~$1million dollars in field improvements, and since then for on-going maintenance and utilities. There has been little to no public access. And no public consultation. With thousands more residents moving to the Peninsula we need public open green space more than ever.

The Wanderers Grounds was fully used by amateur players like this QEHS football team (2015) before HRM paid hundreds of thousands for field upgrades, lights, scoreboard and on-going utility/maintenance for a professional private for-profit soccer team takeover of the public-land.

Renovated Robie St House Demolished & What about those trees?

 

Historic, newly renovated four-unit building at 2110 Robie Street- demolished.

Mid-town Halifax housing takes another hit this morning as an “Investor” knocks down 2110 Robie to save on maintenance and taxes and to profit from poor planning.
 
At least four units are destroyed in a recently renovated, pristine and irreplaceable building next to the North Common. (see pictures below) This is one of 450 demolition permits HRM has issued since January 2020.
Please sign the petition to Petition to Stop Demolitions – shorturl.at/dlxET
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FHC to Mayor/Premier: Stop Plan to Cut Mature Historic Trees on Common

re: QEII Hospital Build and cutting down Halifax Common Trees 

FHC has just learned that the province intends to cut down as many as 40 mature historic trees on the Halifax Common as part of the QEII hospital build.

This 2020 aerial view shows a massive expansion of the Halifax Infirmary (The 8-storey parking garage recently built on NS Museum property on Summer St. has oddly been omitted.) Like the recent construction of a parking garage on the Common, tree cutting should not play a part in the Common future. Public money, public land— where’s the public consultation?

To learn more about the Friends of Halifax Common position read our July 14/23 letter to Premier Houston and Mayor Savage: 2023 FHC Mayor, Premier re: Tree Cutting

If you concur please send your message to premier@novascotia.ca & mayor@halifax.ca

Tell them to:

    • Protect the trees on the Halifax Common and stop plans to cut them.
    • Follow good urban planning principles and engage in meaningful public consultation.
    • Be collaborative in working to keeping a healthy environment for a healthy population.

Please consider becoming a FHC member: https://halifaxcommon.ca/about/membership/

Donate to support the work of Friends of Halifax Common by sending an e-transfer to banking (at) halifaxcommon.ca

Wanderers Grounds: Ron Pink Letter to HRM Mayor Savage

FHC recently retained Halifax lawyer Ron Pink with respect to concerns about the Halifax Regional Municipality’s (HRM) use of the Wanderers Grounds. HRM is operating in violation of the HRM Charter, the 1994 Halifax Common Plan and the Plan’s intent to maintain public access to all Common land. The letter, FHC 2023 07 10 Letter to Mayor Savage from Ronald Pink is intended to give HRM an opportunity to cease and desist all acts on non-compliance.

FHC has many posts, letters and interviews about our concerns for the Wanderers Grounds here: https://halifaxcommon.ca/?s=wanderers+grounds

Please consider becoming a FHC member: https://halifaxcommon.ca/about/membership/

Or donate by e-transfer to banking (at) halifaxcommon.ca

FHC & Todd Veinotte-Councillor Misinformed on Wanderers

Reminder: Its time for our Mayor and Council to protect the Halifax Common, not to let more of it slip out of public use and control. The temporary “pop-up” stadium on the Wanderers Grounds is turning into yet another example of privatization of the public’s Common. Before the private, for-profit Wanderers Club took over the space amateur players of all ages and gender fully used the field for football, touch football, rugby, lacrosse, frisbee and soccer. Now the field improvements, maintenance and utilities are still paid for by public tax dollars but there is little to no public benefit or access. Even if Sports Atlantic doesn’t get the $20 million its been asking for they’ve been closing off availability to land worth millions. With thousands more residents moving to the Peninsula we need public open green space more than ever. Here’s an July 2022 interview to fill in some of the information missing from the discussion!

The Wanderers Grounds was fully used by amateur players like this QEHS football team (2015) before HRM paid hundreds of thousands for field upgrades, lights, scoreboard and on-going utility/maintenance for a professional private for-profit soccer team takeover of the public-land.

FHC Response to HRM’s ‘in principle’ Halifax Common Master Plan

We invite you to read these detailed comments on the ‘in principle’ Halifax Common Master Plan (the “Plan”) that FHC recently sent to HRM staff.  Collectively it took us thousands of hours. It is comprehensive and worth a look!  (There is a short summary below the map.)

Halifax Common with its boundaries between Robie, Cunard, Park and South Streets, as well as land leased to the Horticultural Society for the Public Gardens, area used for cricket grounds, area used for military exercising grounds, and the water-course from the Egg Pond to the Public Garden pond to Freshwater Brook (water features aren’t labelled).

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