FHC has written a letter to HRM Council asking that they refuse the Provincial Government’s latest proposal for an 8-storey, 512 stall parking garage on the north side of the Nova Scotia Museum Site. (An entrance would be on Bell Road and it would connect to the Halifax Infirmary via a pedway across Summer.) A second 1000-stall parking garage and a steam plant would be built on the former CBC-TV site. The proposal and staff report, are the only items for Council’s virtual meeting on Thursday April 9. There has been no public consultation.
- Remind the Province that in its unilateral original proposal it did not abide by the Memorandum of Understanding MOU (2008) between HRM and the Province to consult over any proposed new uses for Halifax Common land;
- Reaffirm that the 1968 conveyance of the land at “City Field” from the City of Halifax to the province was required for a Nova Scotia Museum and was “made available to the Province for such a purpose”, not a parking garage (see the deed and 1968 Halifax Council resolution here nsm 1968);
- State the intention of HRM not to facilitate the placement of a parking garage or pedway on any land adjacent to the Museum; and
- Affirm the preference of HRM that any expansion or reconfiguration of Halifax Infirmary buildings take place exclusively within the confines of the 21.5 acres of Halifax Common land now occupied by it (bounded by Robie St, Bell Road, Summer St, and Veterans Memorial Lane).
Approximately 2,900 citizens petitioned the city and the province in February 2020 to not allow expansion of any components of the Halifax Infirmary to the east side (Natural History Museum side) of Summer Street but keep all expansion of the facility to the land currently held by the Province to the west side (hospital side) of Summer St that includes the former Queen Elizabeth High School and CBC TV properties. Also to seek legislative protection for the Halifax Common.
The important physical and mental health benefits from open green space are well known. The push by the city to densify population in the centre means remaining green and open Common land must be protected against more parking and further development. Less than 20% of the Halifax Common remains as public open space. Approximately 25% of its 240 acres is used for parking. This should be an opportunity for the province and HRM to work together to support better public transportation options (ie electric bus park and ride; car share; park and ride; commuter rail) instead of spending precious health care dollars on two new parkades.