HRM’s Community and Economic Development Standing Committee met on Wednesday, Dec 8, and agreed to delay approving the Halifax Common Master Plan just released on Friday, December 3, 2021. FHC’s Howard Epstein and Alan Ruffman were among several speakers and concerned groups including the Halifax Lancers These speakers asked that the draft Plan not go forward to HRM Council until an appropriate review of the lengthy (496 pp) document could take place. Thank you to the many who wrote to ask for the delay.
The Halifax Common grant in 1763 was for 240 acres ” to and for the use of the inhabitants of the town of Halifax as Common, forever.” This entire area was to be considered for planning purposes in the 1994 Halifax Common Plan.
Howard Epstein, presented on behalf of FHC as follows:
Submission to HRM Community Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee, Re: Halifax Common Master Plan
Proposal—Friends of Halifax Common asks that the Committee refer the draft Master Plan back to HRM staff to conduct further public consultations and receive comments, over a period of at least two months. There are three main reasons for this: Continue reading →
The Halifax Common grant in 1763 was for 235 acres ” to and for the use of the inhabitants of the town of Halifax as Common, forever.” This entire area was to be considered for planning purposes in the 1994 Halifax Common Plan.
FHC executive members recently met with HRM planning staff to remind them of the importance of good planning and protection for the future of the Halifax Common under the the following themes: Consider the Common as a whole; Protection; Flexible space; Expand the Purview and Participatory.
!. Consider the Common as a whole. The historical boundary must be respected and highlighted, and an overall character needs to be established, not just for sidewalks, streets, and current public spaces, but to the extent possible for the Common as a whole.
2. Protection. It must be understood that without legislative protection, the dimishment of the Common, which has gone on for many years, will steadily continue in future years and generations. If so, one of the defining features of the urban form and history of Halifax will be irredeemably lost. Specific steps leading to the protection of the Common must be identified in the Plan. Continue reading →
An artist’s rendition of the 29-storey Willow Tree tower at the corner of Quinpool Road & Robie Street.
The voice of the public is not being heard or heeded in “pre-ordained” Halifax Regional Municipality development plans, several community groups say.
“The consultative process is a right of the public under the (municipal) charter so that the public is able to participate in the finalization of planning strategies,” said Peggy Cameron of the group Friends of the Common Halifax Common, one of 10 Continue reading →
August, 2020-Letter to HRM Auditor General Re- Review of HRM Planning’s public consultative process as a Charter matter
This letter (accompanied by 10 brief case studies) is to request that HRM Auditor General conduct a review of HRM Planning Department’s public engagement process and outcomes with respect to HRM planning and council votes. In writing to you we wish to note that we are aware of your July 2018 report to HRM Council on the operation of the Planning Department with respect to development agreements. We are prompted to write regarding a crucial aspect of the operations of that Department not addressed in the report, namely public participation.
The HRM Charter, Part VIII, s.208 states: “The purpose of this Part is to …(c) establish a consultative process to ensure the right of the public…to participate in the formulation of planning strategies…” 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.* Continue reading →
May 27, 2016 Dear Peninsular Advisory Committee Members: RE: St Pat’s High School
I am writing to suggest that the process for determining what should be built on the former St Pat’s High School has not been conducted with enough rigor or within a proper framework to ensure its final recommendations are valid and to ask that any decision about this property be deferred until after the Centre Plan is completed.
The public comments from the meeting that Councilor Watts held on May 21, 2014 to initiate discussion about possible outcomes for the St Pat’s High School site as documented here: https://www.halifax.ca/council/agendasc/documents/140722ca1118.pdf are completely ignored in the final plan. Because these comments do not seem to be in the final report as presented for review by the PAC please find a brief summary of what the fifty+ people at this meeting emphasized as important:
Retaining some public use of the space especially for an auditorium or performance space;
Keeping, improving and connecting public open green space;
Using the space to support community needs such as seniors housing, francophone community, or non-profits;
Redeveloping for commercial, residential and community to complement the existing neighbourhood and Quinpool Road district- no highrises, beauty, green space, public space, pedestrian friendly;
Reconfiguring roads and creating better options for pedestrians, cyclists and connectivity and deal with existing traffic problems.
As well “key design principles that include: urban openness that allows visual and physical access to traditionally private space, human scale, public open spaces, a variety of residential and commercial spaces, capturing the spirit of the existing neighbourhood, and creativity in design”as identified by the project consultant in July 2015 are largely ignored in the final outcome. Continue reading →
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 →
Published June 27th, 2014
This week marked the 251st anniversary of the signing of the 1763 land grant of 240 acres “for the use of the inhabitants of the Town of Halifax as Common forever.”
This year also marks 20 years since the City of Halifax approved the 1994 Halifax Common Plan, a document that was developed after a thorough public consultation because of concern about the increasing number of changes and demands for use and the need for additional protection for the Halifax Common. Continue reading →
On December 3, 2012, Friends of Halifax Common submitted comments to Law Amendments with respect to the NDP provincial government’s Bill 157, that re-crafted the Halifax Charter to give permission for the construction of a support building for the skating Oval.
After the Friends’ presentations to community councils, letters to the Mayor and Council, letters to Ministers John MacDonnell, Leonary Preyra, Maureen MacDonald asking for protective legislation for the Halifax Common, the NDP government instead provided a “legal” route for HRM’s further encroachment of the last remaining 30 acres. Bill 157, Submission to Law Amendments