Tag Archives: density

April 25th Public Hearing on 20-storeys is About Taking from the Common

Imagine standing on the North or Central Common and looking to the west, to see a 20-storey building, (2 storeys taller than the new convention centre) blocking the sky.

HRM’s Public Hearing for Armoyan’s proposal for the Willow Tree is April 25th, 6 pm at City Hall. But Friends of Halifax Common 10-year effort to have HRM honour its 1994 commitment to develop an integrated master plan for the Halifax Common is ignored.

The 240 acre Halifax Common is a unique parcel granted by King George III in 1763 “to and for the use of the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax as Commons forever”. FHC acknowledges the blight of the legacy of colonialism, but uniquely, the Common belongs in equal measure for joint use to the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax, forever.

It is wrong for HRM Council to be taking decisions outside of the context of a master plan, on matters that have a long-term, bad implication for the Halifax Common. Of the 240 acre grant only the remnant of the North 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

Are Dexel Developers Slick Marketers Using Brent Toderian & Bob Bjerke?

FHC’s belief that protecting the Halifax Common must be a top priority as the population in the urban core grows is supported by growing evidence of the social, health and environmental benefits of public open space. Sadly Dexel Construction’s private consultation for a 28+/- tower on Halifax Common land at

Developments at the Willow Tree and along South Park and Spring Garden Road are popular with develpers looking to sell luxurious views.

Developments at the Willow Tree, along South Park and Spring Garden Road are sought after by developers using individual development agreement applications and looking to sell luxurious views for maximum profit.   See details at: www.willowtreehalifax.wordpress.com/exceeding-limits

Spring Garden Rd, Carleton and Robie where the present height restriction is 35 feet/2.5 storeys, is just the latest threat by developers wanting to maximize profits by building their private towers next to or on public open space. At Dexel’s May 2016 presentation, Density Done Well, Vancouver’s former chief planner Brent Toderian a paid Dexel consultant and highrise advocate, left out significant information in his love-in for Dexel’s “game- Continue reading

Whose Interest is the City Serving?

The Halifax Common and the Parker-Welsford Street neighbourhood continue to be threatened by the proposed 30-storey Armoyen and 25-storey Chedrawe developments. It is disappointing  to have city staff pushing through the development agreement process for projects that are non-conforming to the MPS, the LUB, the Quinpool Road and Area Plan and 1994 Halifax Common Plan (see: PAC Minutes-Jan 25, 2016 ).  The Willow Tree Group‘s serious and credible

Developers' push for profit and all day darkness on the Oval.

Staff & Developers’ push for private profits, neighbourhood be damned.

work to draw attention to contraventions including height, scale, density, the negative effects on the Halifax Common, existing houses and from traffic, wind and shadow seems ignored.  All for the private interests & profit of exceptionalist developers. The
2013 Stantec Report, the city’s
recent Density Bonusing Study and  Turner Drake’s quarterly reports offer lots of evidence on why  building outside of plan is a bad idea.
Whose interest is the city serving?

“Amendments to an MPS are generally not considered unless it can be shown that circumstances have changed since the document was adopted to the extent that the original land use policy is no longer appropriate. Site-specific MPS amendment requests, in particular, require significant justification to be considered.”



Residents say Armoyen’s 29-storeys is too tall for neighbourhood

shadows_feb-1_4pm_west_smallIt’s Deja view!
A 29-storey tower
one of  two developments proposed at the corner of Robie & Quinpool, next to  the Halifax Common and residential neighbourhoods west of Robie Street is too high according to 80+ attending a Sept 17th public meeting.  At just 20′ shorter than Fenwick Tower the building is potentially the second tallest building in Halifax but proposed for a site presently restricted to 145′.  Of 20+ citizens speaking only one person, representing the Quinpool Business Commission supported the proposal.  See CBC’s Coverage of the Public Meeting

View the developer’s drawings

Visit the Willow Tree Group website for a critical evaluation of these two projects.
Follow the Willow Tree Group on Twitter

St Pat’s Background Report Inaccurate, Inadequate & Biased

HRM has posted a background report by WSP Canada Inc. about the former St. Patrick’s High School site (Quinpool 6067) in advance of Wendesday’s meeting. The three concept designs are not  yet avalable.  Errors and omissions in the report are detailed below. The report

St Pat's Process Flawed

St Pat’s Process Deeply Flawed (Photo-Rebecca Lau/Global News)

would be a very faulty basis for a public consultation and should be withdrawn and revised before the consultation starts.

The report is clearly biased towards a large scale development despite a 2013 Stantec Report commissioned by HRM determined that there is sufficient development capacity in the Regional Capital to meet density targets for the next 25 years. Presently there is equivalent to 20 empty blocks of land in the downtown, most used as parking lots and most with existing development agreements and yet  the report does not consider retaining this land as public open space.  Below is a list of the problems, followed by some discussion.

1.  The report does not mention the existing height limit on the property.
2.  The report has an inadequate discussion of the Quinpool Road Commercial Area Plan (QRCAP).
3.  The densities on surrounding blocks are calculated incorrectly.
4.  The wind consultants did not consider the effect of winds on Cogswell Park, between Windsor, Parker and Welsford Streets.
5.  The report starts with a density that is twice as great as the density allowed in this part of Halifax.


  1. The report does not mention the existing height limit on the property.

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Halifax Common vs. Block Buster Highrises

 Presently there are 2 proposals by 2 developers for 3 block-buster towers of 28, 24 and 12 storeys near the Willow Tree intersection. (For comparison, Fenwick Towers is 32 storeys and Bell Aliant is 22 storeys) These highrises are not permitted under present planning regulations, set a bad precedent and will harm the Halifax Common experience.  Please read below to learn what the implications are and how you can be involved.
The proposed developments will block  the common view of the western sky and will increase wind, shadow and traffic.

The proposed developments will block the common view of the western sky and will increase wind, shadow and traffic.

Block-Busting – When developers apply for special exemptions or changes to smaller parcels of land that ignore an existing master plan and are at odds with a big picture view of what is permitted under existing zoning regulations its known as block-busting or spot-rezoning.
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