Tag Archives: health

Halifax Common Master Plan Approval Delayed by HRM Standing Committee

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 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.

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

Rick Howe News 95.7: Health Do$$ars to Build Parking Garages – Governments Going Backwards

This rendering by Marcel Tarnogorski shows the proposed parkade at the Halifax Infirmary site, with the pedway spanning Summer Street. - Contributed

Proposed 512-stall parking garage at the Halifax Infirmary site with the pedway spanning Summer Street. A second 1000-stall parkade and steam plant will be at Summer/Bell. (rendering by Marcel Tarnogorski)

News 95.7 Rick Howe speaks with Peggy Cameron on “Why do HRM mayor and council hold the Common in contempt?”

Eliminating green space to build expensive new parking garages is a turn in the wrong direction. Over 50% of hospital staff are interested in other transportation options. So why aren’t governments working to improve transportation options and stop giving up health benefits of green space?

RFP for 8-storey parkade on North Side of Museum of Natural History Has a Nasty Surprise

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax)  With no explanation, Department of Transportation’s 889 page RFP for the
This rendering by Marcel Tarnogorski shows the proposed parkade at the Halifax Infirmary site, with the pedway spanning Summer Street. - Contributed

The proposed 512-stall parkade north of the NS Museum of Natural History with the pedway over Summer Street. A second 1000-stall parkade will be at Summer/Bell.

Summer Street parking garage has a nasty one-sentence surprise buried deep inside the Sustainability Requirements section that specifically eliminates superior-to-conventional-ramp-parking alternative solutions. 
“Automated parking facilities and systems capable of receiving, parking, and retrieving passenger vehicles automatically are not considered viable for this project application.” page 139, Sustainability Requirements, Section 01 35 63 Page 3, OTHER GREEN INITIATIVES paragraph 1.3.2 
And yet an automated robotic valet parking system would be the most sustainable choice.  For example:
  1. Halifax Infirmary Site Location: the garage would be ~40% smaller with the same number of stalls and would fit on the surface parking lot on Robie Street next to the Veterans Memorial building, a shorter distance to the hospital entrance.
  2. Green space:  There would be no loss of public open space on the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History where the 8-storey conventional parkade is slated to be constructed. Approximately 2,900 citizens petitioned municipal and provincial governments to not allow expansion of any component of the Halifax Infirmary re-development outside of the 22 acres it has assembled.
  3. Pedway: There would be no need for a pedway over Summer Street between a conventional parkade and the hospital entrance.
  4. Health and Safety Impacts: Exposure of users breathing the toxic mix of car exhaust gases and brake and tire dust would go from well over 100,000 hours a year, to ZERO. Greenhouse gas emissions by users driving within the conventional parking garage would go from ~38 tonnes of CO2 per year to essentially ZERO. Less interaction with other users means better social distancing. Provision of Accessible parking spaces would increase from 15 of 512 stalls to 100% Accessible. Robotic valet parkades eliminate potential criminal assaults (including rape), vandalism, thefts from their cars, as only maintenance staff can ever enter the parkade itself.
  5. Construction and Operational Cost: In many cases an automated robotic valet parking system is less expensive and quicker to build and is almost certainly less expensive to operate than a conventional ramp parkade of the same capacity. 
Early in the process the Nova Scotia Lands Hospital Design team was made aware of and researched automated robotic valet parking systems and presented options based on the concepts to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (DTIR).
Who edited and released the RFP that outlaws the automated parking design paradigm? 
Who benefits from eliminating the most sustainable option and cost effective choice from the bidding process? 
What is the justification for not considering the most modern parking technologies for a building that is supposed to be the first part of a “State of the Art” $2,000,000,000 QEII Next Generation Project. 
Will there also be a second-best choice for a conventional 1000 stall parking garage to be constructed on the former CBC TV lands?
Approximately 25% of the Halifax Common’s 240 acres is used for parking. The positive effects of green space on all aspects of health and the push by the city to densify population on the Peninsula mean remaining green and open Common land must be protected against more parking and further development. No traffic study has been conducted and no alternatives to the parking garages have been considered. 
To date Nova Scotia Government has failed on its commitment to make public its fraud risk

This rendering from Halifax Infirmary redevelopment website does not show the proposed 8-storey parking garage on the NS Museum land. An automated parking garage would fit on the surface parking lot next to the Veterans Memorial hospital on Robie near Jubilee.

A second 1000-stall parking garage will be built on the former CBC-TV site bringing a total of 1512 cars to the area.

A second 1000-stall parking garage will be built on the former CBC-TV site (lower-right) bringing a total of 1512 cars to the area. Bell Road will be widened.

report for the $2 billion P3 QEII redevelopment plan, the largest infrastructure project in the province’s history. A CCPA-NS report on the re-development raised concerns about transparency and accountability in the P3 decision making process and found that the private financing is 125% more than comparable public borrowing.
The Terms of Reference for the parkade RFP included the following;
Deliver a project centered on people and health, with healthcare rated 
indoor environmental qualities. The parkade sustainable goals include: 
      1. Managing parking requirements efficiently 
      2. Increase energy efficiency and performance 
      3. Reduce environmental Impact 
      4. Encourage alternative mobility options 
2. The consultant is expected to make design recommendations based upon the design’s ability to support and enhance:
  1. program delivery and operational approaches 
  2. aesthetic considerations 
  3. functional relationships 
  4. code requirements 
  5. green/sustainability 
  6. healthy building considerations 
  7. energy conservation 
  8. SmartTrip Program / Halifax EPass 
  9. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) features. 

Welcome Spring Around the Common!

FHC’s 2014 photographic exhibition “Parking the Common” found 20-25% of the Common is parking, a private use of public space. Making the Common Halifax’s first car free zone would be an investment in our future. Imagine Central Park as you walk the 4km perimeter to welcome Spring! Cunard, North Park, Ahern, South Park, South, Robie.

Why not welcome Spring with a walk around the Common?  The perimeter  is ~4km and it takes ~1 hour to circumnavigate. Until now public directives telling us to stay at home to help flatten the COVID-19 curve have not banned being outside. That’s lucky, as while our society prioritizes health benefits associated with rigorous physical activity – sports, running, gym-workouts – having regular outdoor time has important physical and mental health benefits such as reducing anxiety, stress and negative emotions; improving memory, immunity, healing, focus, vision, longevity; and managing weight or growing food! See FHC bibliography greenspace

Remember to respect the 2m social distancing directive as many countries have shut parks Continue reading