Designate Carlton Street Area as Conservation District!

Two developments for four towers (16-, 20-, 23-, 30-storeys) on the single block between Carlton, Spring Garden, Robie & College continue on a path to destroy dozens of affordable housing and small-scale commercial units on the last historic neighbourhood on the Halifax Common’s South Common. In an August 29th letter to Mayor Savage  FHC Director Howard Epstein requested a halt to these proceedings until a Heritage Trust request made in 2012 and another request in 2016 that the area be considered a conservation district or part of a conservation district are considered.  FHC didn’t hear back from Mayor Savage.

The classic 3-storey Coburg Apartments, an Edwardian-era building on the South Common, is one of dozens of buildings under threat by two developers who hope to erect 16 & 29 storey and 20 & 26 storey high-rises in the single block between Carlton, College, Robie and Spring Garden Road. Formal requests in 2012 and 2016 for this area to be designated a Conservation District have so far been ignored.

This week Case 20761 & Case 20218 come before the HRM’s Peninsula Advisory Committee (4pm Mon) and HRM’s Heritage Advisory Committee (4pm Wed) at City Hall. These committees act on behalf of all citizens. Their duty is to use their power to balance the interests of all residents, not just pander to the pursuit of profit by certain private developers. So, FHC’s September 24th letter to PAC and HAC asks that PAC & HAC request that proceedings on the proposals are halted until the 2012 and 2016 requests for a Conservation District for this area be considered.

The proposed 4 towers, 2 others in the works plus an 7 existing  means 13 in total for this small area. Why aren’t these 13 towers being considered together? Where are the 3-D models and studies for cumulative impact of wind, shadow, traffic, noise?

Over half of the buildings in the area have Heritage designation and 11 more qualify.  The towers aren’t necessary; Centre Plan’s growth target of 400 residents could be achieved with one 5-storey apartment building and the already approved 18-storey Killam tower next to the Camp Hill Cemetery.

Why isn’t the city building on the economic, social, environmental and cultural advantages that small-scale, older, smaller buildings are proven to provide? And how does destroying buildings to replace them with greenhouse glass and concrete towers address climate change? Or fulfill the need for ‘gentle or middle” style housing that can support density and attract families?

Who runs city hall? Mayor Savage doesn’t answer correspondence and HRM planning ignores valid input and concerns.  Write the PAC and HAC to ask that they request a halt to the projects and recommend Conservation Designation for the area. Remind them to act on behalf of all citizens, not developers.