Rick Howe interviews FHC’s Peggy Cameron about the group’s letter to Premier McNeil asking that he cancel the plans for parking garages on the Halifax Common. There are other, better solutions.
December 17, 2020
Dear Premier McNeil,
As you leave your role as Premier, we write to ask that you reconsider the decision to build a $30 million dollar, 8-storey, 500-stall parking garage on one of the last remaining public open green spaces on the Halifax Common. Approximately 20% of the Common is used as parking, almost all for provincial health care facilities.
The 1000-stall parking garage planned for the former CBC building site will certainly provide enough parking for years – build it first and the parkade on the Museum of Natural History grounds becomes unnecessary. The decision for the Museum property parking garage taken by Minister Lloyd Hines, requires careful second sober thought.
Construction work for a controversial parking garage by the NS Museum of Natural History exposed an ancient pipe where Freshwater Brook flows. Rick Howe interviews Peggy Cameron who sees this as a perfect opportunity for a re-think on the controversial $30 million, 8-storey, 500-stall parking garage planned for one of the few public, open green spaces left on the Halifax Common.
The brook, initially called a river, ran from what is now near the corner of St. Albans Street and Clifton Street in north-end Halifax, across the peninsula, through the Halifax Public Gardens, Victoria Park, past Fenwick towers and the Sobeys parking lot on Queen Street to the confluence of Barrington and Inglis streets. Continue reading
FHC Centre Plan Submission May 2016 emphasizes the importance of public open space. As HRM’s population grows we need to protect and expand access to green land and blue sky, not just on the Halifax Common but throughout the city.
Below’s a summary of FHC requests for how the 1994 Halifax Common Plan be respected.*
How can understanding former uses and natural features of the Halifax Common help us deal with contemporary concerns and future challenges?
To learn more come & hear guest speaker Kevin Hooper Tuesday April 12, 6:45 pm – 7:45 pm
Room 301, Halifax Central Library, Spring Garden Road
A refreshments break at 8:45 pm will be followed by FHC AGM at ~ 8 pm.
Details: Kevin Hooper investigates the Halifax Common’s social and environmental history and makes the case for reintroducing functioning wetland ecosystems to deal with the challenges facing conventional stormwater management.
Among other topics this presentation will detail; the near complete loss of historical watercourses on the Halifax Peninsula; the evolution of the Halifax Common from 1749-2016; the critical role of wetlands in nature; and, the innovative ways that engineered wetlands are being applied for the purposes of sustainable stormwater management.
Bio: Kevin Hooper, B.A., M.U.R.P., originally from Moncton, N.B., has lived and worked in Halifax since 2006. Following an undergraduate degree in the social sciences Kevin did a Masters in Urban and Rural Planning at Dalhousie University with a focus on environmental conservation, social equity, and community design. He has contributed as a research assistant on several projects relating to climate change adaptation for small communities and currently works as a planning consultant.
He is the father of three young children and the very lucky partner of the most wonderful woman in the world.
On the eve of the Halifax Common’s 252 anniversary CBC Mainstreet’s Stephanie Domet interviews Peggy Cameron. The conversation outlines the many decisions that the city is making in advance of an integrated master plan for the Halifax Common.
There are no rules. Individual decisions outside of a plan are having a cumulative impact and are diminishing the Common. These also preclude the outcome of any planning process related to the now promised Halifax Common Master Plan.
Concerned about what Common will be left for posterity? Or that the Mayor and Council have no vision for the Common?
Email the Mayor and Council at: email@example.com.
(begins at 4:10)
Did you know that Halifax has its own lost river system? Join Jane’s Walk guide, Ben Wedge on the North Common to explore Halifax’s river system and its influence on development patterns in a growing garrison town. After centuries of development burying our beautiful urban streams, cities are rediscovering them and starting to bring them back. Inspired in part by the documentary “Lost Rivers” Halifax Council is debating daylighting Dartmouth’s Sawmill River.
Here is a nice facebook page and previous posts on Freshwater Brook can be found here…This post about HRM’s 2006 daylighting policy for both Sawmill River and Freshwater Brook. This post includes links to excellent essays by Matt Neviille and Sam Austin. Continue reading
Paul Schneiderheit’s story highlights the benefits of daylighting streams. Jan 6, 2015- Chronicle Herald – Schneiderheit One omission is that HRM’s 2006 daylighting policy specifies two water courses: Dartmouth’s Sawmill River and the Halifax Common’s Freshwater Brook.
We’re generally unaware that the Halifax Common as the watershed for the peninsula was a rich and diverse ecosystem of plants, trees, birds, fish, frogs-all manner of critters and beasties. Ruth Whitehead Holmes’ The’ Old Man Told Us, Excerpts from Micmac History, 1500-1950 “ recounts histories of Mi’kmaq hunting beaver, Black Duck and moose near Black Duck Pond, later Egg Pond and now the skatepark. Continue reading
What do these two watercourses, Freshwater Brook and Sawmill River, have in common you might ask? Well, for now, they are both underground.
Freshwater Brook drains the Halifax Common watershed into Halifax Harbour and was piped underground around 1878. See Matt Neville’s detailed essay: Representing Halifax, Exploring the Potential of the City through Mapping
and Freshwater Brook Facebook. Sawmill River was part of the Shubie Canal system and runs between Dartmouth’s Sullivan’s Pond into the Halifax Harbour and was piped underground in the 1970s for flood-control. Continue reading
Friends of Halifax Common celebrated Earth Day 2011 by installing 100 blue stakes along the former pathway of Freshwater Brook. Approximately 30 willow tree switches were planted alongside the blue stakes which were decorated with fish – as a reference to the former waterway. The original Halifax Common included the lands which drained into this stream that is now buried, channeled or diverted underground. The watershed was a marshy, wooded area with the stream starting above the North Common and running through the Central Common (the small Egg pond there is now part of the skate park), the Public Garden (Griffin Pond) all the way to the Halifax Harbour below Inglis Street. In former times ships would collect fresh water from this brook at the Harbour outfall.
For an illustration of the Freshwater Brook’s path from “Representing Halifax: Exploring the Potential of the City through Mapping” by Matt Neville.