Tag Archives: Demolition Permits

Newly Renovated Robie Street 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
Continue reading

Chronicle Herald: Rally Against Robie Street demolitions

[Stephen Cooke | Posted: April 9, 2022] While a portable speaker played the sound of Joni Mitchell singing “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot,” Haligonians dismayed by the recent destruction of historic homes on Robie Street gathered in front of the rubble-strewn site across from Camp Hill Cemetery.

Organized by the citizens’ group Development Options Halifax, the rally at the corner of Robie and Bliss streets was held to make residents aware of impending changes to the neighbourhood, and to request they take action against ongoing developments that are changing the character of the city at the expense of affordable housing, the environment and reducing congestion on its streets.

Continue reading

CBC-Maritime Noon-Why Old Buildings Matter

In 1960s the Cogswell “slum clearances” demolished 3,000 buildings with affordable housing, small scale businesses and diversity. Building & construction is responsible for 39% of greenhouse gas emissions. photo-Stephen Archibald-Brunswick Street, Halifax 1965/66

Listen to CBC’s Bob Murphy and guests Tom Urbaniak, professor at Cape Breton University and Tom Morrison, engineer at Heritage Standing Inc. discuss the multiple advantages of keeping old buildings-economic, social, cultural and very important – environment and climate change.

Dear Centre Plan, Show us your 3-D models!

Dalhousie architecture student Hadrian Laing volunteered to produce this 3-D model of 4 towers proposed for historic the Carlton St. neighbourhood- together & for the first time!

FHC has joined other citizens to form Development Options Halifax. Recently the public saw our 3-D print model of 4 towers that 2 developers want to build at Carleton, College, Spring Garden and Robie. This technology is readily available, effective and  cheap but it’s the first time it’s been used to model developments for Halifax citizens. 

In January we developed and showed the public drawings of the two proposals together, again for the first timeeven though they’re on the same block HRM processes and meetings have been entirely separate! The model is so successful we call on HRM to provide 3-D print models of all proposed developments and Centre Plan changes in advance of its approval. The public has the right to know what HRM plans for the city. This “to scale” model captures how out-of-scale the proposals, at 80% the square footage of the convention centre, are. It allows a comparison of before and after, and helps explore better options for in-fill respectful of Halifax Common’s last historic neighbourhood.

HRM planning needs a more open, transparent process. During June 2016 Centre Plan public consultations, HRM Staff story-boards suggested their target of addition 400 residents to the area could be accommodated in two 10-storey buildings or one 10-storey building and two 5-storey buildings. But Staff didn’t include the already approved 18-storey high-rise that Killam will build on Carlton by Camp Hill Cemetery – it would house 70% of the 400 residents!

There are so many unanswered questions. How is it volunteers are showing the mass and scale of these developments together to the public for the first time? And presenting the first 3-D model? Why are the 2012 and 2016 requests by Heritage Trust for the last historic neighbourhood on the Halifax Common to be designated as a conservation area being ignored? Almost 50% of the buildings are heritage and another 11 qualify. Why is HRM planning for the wasteful destruction of up to 12 buildings? Its a small-scale, mixed-use, commercial and residential neighborhood with many affordable units and hidden density.

There are better options. The 3-D model helped us visualize and calculate that 8-storey buildings could be constructed in the 48,000 sq ft of parking area in the centre of the block. These could accommodate approximately 213  two-bedroom units or ~534 people. Similarly a low-rise building could be built at Killam’s property at 5880 Spring Garden Road next to the Glitter Bean. The towers are not necessary.

Please ask the Mayor and Council to not approve these 2 developments. Sign the petition: https://forms.gle/3enTs6PfSkmMmNW48


Rick Howe interview re Corridor Wasting Disease

Rick Howe’s interview Peggy Cameron about her photographic exhibition- Corridor Wasting Disease: Robie Street, A Case Study  helps us understand why proposals such as demolishing 7 houses to build an 8-storey box at Robie, Compton & Cunard are the worst choice for the economic, cultural, social and environmental needs of our city. The exhibition continues at the NS Museum of Natural History until Nov. 2nd.

Chronicle Herald Review – Artist critiques HRM’s plans: Robie St., a case study

Continue reading

HRM Planning Information Meeting – Wednesday Dec 7th 19 proposals at 1 meeting

Please attend this important meeting and make comments on the 19 proposed developments…

The classic 3-storey Coburg Apartments, is an Edwardian-era building on the South Common that is under threat from the Two developers hope to erect 16 & 30 storey and 20 & 26 storey high-rises in the single block between Carlton, College, Robie and Spring Garden Road under debelopment agreement applications. targeted growth area- Spring Garden Road bounded by Robie, College, Summer Streets and Camp Hill Cemetery.

The classic 3-storey Coburg Apartments, an Edwardian-era building at Spring Garden and Robie, on the South Common,  is one of a dozen+ buildings that will be demolished by two developers if their plans for 16 & 30 storey and 20 & 26 storey high-rises in the single block between Carlton, College, Robie and Spring Garden Road are approved.

Most of the 19 proposals are for highrises that break existing height restrictions and are out-of -scale with neighbourhoods. They’ll cause dozens of affordable small-scale, mixed-use residential units, commercial spaces & historic houses to be demolished. This will harm Halifax’s Common in various ways. Examples are:

  • 13 storey on Robie, Cunard – Compton
  • 14 storey on Robie St, Pepperell – Shirley
  • 16 & 30 storey on Spring Garden Rd & Robie west of Carlton
  • 20 & 26 storey on College & Robie St west of Carlton

Continue reading

Brenton Place – Giving Away the Public Good

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 added to the 13-storey height limit 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.

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

Write now! Help Amend City Charter to Stop Demolition

Write now to the Law Amendments Committee (c/o legc@novascotia.ca) to ask for amendments to Bill 177- An Act to Amend the HRM City Charter and the Municipal Government Act so the city can take control over issuing demolition permits, ensuring affordable housing, and protecting built environment, streetscapes and public space etc.

Bill 177 has been introduced, will pass second reading and then come before Law Amendments Committee. Individual citizens can speak before the Committee or submit a written request to the Committee asking for amendments to the HRM Charter to allow the city to take charge over these priorities. Here’s what FHC submitted on May 5th-feel free to use it as a model.
Law Amendments Submission Bill 177-1
Background Details are here: Continue reading

95.7 Rick Howe – Do Mayor & Council Enable Demolitions?

There are approximately 45-50 buildings under threat of demolition or already under the wrecking ball.  What is the role of the Mayor and Council? What can they do?  Why haven’t they done it?  And why are demolition permits being handed out “left, right and centre”?

Danny Chedrawe has demolished 7 character buildings-his new 7-storey construct will block the view of Citadel Hill from the 5-storey "Halifax Livingroom" of the new Central Library. https://www.halifaxexaminer.ca/province-house/drinking-with-a-dead-man-morning-file-wednesday-may-4-2016/

Danny Chedrawe’s Westwood Ltd. has demolished 7 character buildings-his new 7-storey construct will block the view of Citadel Hill from the 5-storey “Halifax Living-room” of the new Central Library. photo-Halifax Examiner –see more here.

Steele Auto Expansion- Not a New Experience

Graphic illustrating the 22-25 buildings slated for demolition by Steele Honda - Tristan Cleveland

Graphic illustrating the 22-25 buildings slated for demolition by Steele Honda – Tristan Cleveland

News 95.7 Sheldon MacLeod interviews Peggy Cameron about demolition being a long-term threat to neighbourhoods that the city has allowed.



Halifax – Dartmouth neighbourhoods aren’t “out-of-date” or ready for demolition.

(Halifax) Between 45 & 50 buildings on the Halifax Peninsula are about to be demolished or are under threat. When you add it up, Halifax is under siege by some developers that want to build outside existing planning rules and get ahead of the Centre Plan. Recent news revealed Steele Auto’s plans to raze 17 properties NE of Robie and North Streets but there are many other neighbourhoods threatened by private developers. Good city development and planning is guided by more than developers’ and car dealers’ needs. The Mayor and Council need to take control by enforcing existing planning rules and taking control of demolition permitting.

Present plans and regulations already allow for the construction of an additional 34,965 dwelling units in the Regional Centre without any changes. There is no need to break rules or destroy the historic character and urban fabric of Halifax.

But plans are in the works for 3 high-rises between 18-30 storeys in the Spring Garden Road area between Robie and Carlton Streets by Dexel Construction and Killam Properties. These proposals are all located on Halifax Common Land Continue reading

Dear Mayor-Take Control of Demolition Permits

Dear Mayor Savage and Council:

Re:  Take Immediate Action to obtain an amendment to HRM City Charter to control issuance of demolition permits.
I write to request that the HRM Municipal Council take immediate action to ask the provincial government for an amendment to the HRM Charter so as to obtain control over demolition permits.
The city needs to immediately develop policy around criteria and rules whereby the city would permit demolition of existing built properties. These criteria need to go beyond the very limited scope for safe demolition as governed under the Building Code Act. Some these may be incorporated into the Centre Plan. The issuance of demolition permits should be suspended until such time as these new policies and rules are in place.  There is no shortage of empty lots available for development without further demolition of existing properties.

For example criteria and rules should include but not be limited to:
1. preservation of rental housing to prevent the conversion of rental property to private condos and housing;
2. prevention of lot consolidation for conversion of rental housing to other uses that remove the rental properties;
3. prevention of lot consolation for expansion of a non-conforming use;
4. preservation of heritage properties- normally a city has value for built heritage and should be protecting these;
5. preservation of properties with historic value even if these don’t have heritage designation;
6.  preservation of small scale mixed use commercial properties.

Demolition should only be permitted if there is an approval for a new development. Such a project should conform to existing planning policies and regulations. Penalties should apply if the project does not go forward within a prescribed time frame.

Further regulations need to be developed through zoning to ensure that the transition from one use to another when permitted does not have a negative effect on abutting properties.

There are many situations in Halifax presently where demolition is affecting the availability of rental properties both residential and small-scale commercial and the quality of life, livability and general enjoyment of adjacent properties and experiences of pubic space.

For example you are already aware of the Cleveland House on Young Avenue, houses on Brenton Street, Clyde Street, South Park Street, Coburg Road, Vernon Street and 7 buildings on Doyle Street, Queen Street and Spring Garden Road.
More recently are the 17 properties on North Street, Robie Street, McCully Street, May Street and Fern Lane.  Up-coming will be applications for demolition by Dexel Construction for properties between Carleton Street and Robie Street along the south side of Spring Garden Road. Following will be Killam Properties application for the demolition of properties on the SE corner of Spring Garden Road and Carleton St.

As per previous correspondence I attach “Older, Smaller, Better-measuring how the character of building blocks influences urban vitality” a study using empirical evidence to demonstrate the unique and valuable economic role that older, smaller buildings have in the development of sustainable cities.

Please take action immediately. Cities need guidance beyond the criteria of developers and car dealers.

Yours truly,
Peggy Cameron

FHC Letter- South Park Loft Breaks Public Values & Trust

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 South Park Street will be demolished. Approving the high-end Trillium in 2008 resulted in 5 historic houses being demolished.

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

Get the FHC newsletter!