Tag Archives: integrated transportation strategy

Halifax Common Pool – HRM Dives into the Wrong End of Planning Process

(Ki’jupuk / Halifax) HRM’s ad hoc planning (get it done) vs long term (do it right) once again drowns potential for the best outcome — in this case for the Halifax Common’s new aquatic centre.

Your car, my lungs –a powerful mural by Marta Frej, via @WarszawaBezSmog)

While always supportive of and recognizing the need for a new public outdoor aquatic centre, Friends of Halifax Common continue to be disappointed with a process that now has HRM diving into an unsuitable location with an unknown building design for the Central Common swimming pool re-design. 

Ahead of any public consultation HRM established a new aquatic centre as a top objective of the 2017 Halifax Common Master Plan. On-going disregard for public consultation now lands the $16 million-dollar project ahead of a final Halifax Common Master Plan.

This predetermined outcome ignores considering other locations that would increase public open green space and save money with rationalized facility use. It also ignores the Feb 8, 2022 directive HRM staff received to “undertake public consultation and a review of the Master Plan and return to Regional Council within 18 months with the results of the consultation and any recommended amendments, along with implementation plans as may be advised.”

Most importantly better location choices would avoid the well-known harmful health impact of traffic pollution, noise and accidents that will result from the addition of at least 1500 cars using the QEII hospital’s two new $100 million dollar parking garages directly across the street. That the parkades are associated with the hospital redevelopment will not alleviate the grave and known impact that traffic emissions have on children’s health.

Locating the pool near the Citadel High School could have budgeted financial support for the completion of the upper floor(s) of the HRM recreational space inside the school. HRM has paid 7% of the building’s operational fee since 2007 but the upper ~10,500 ft2  remains unfinished and unused. 

Or locating the pool on the Centennial Pool parking lot could have expanded public green space by landscaping/naturalizing that area. And use or expansion of the Centennial’s staff offices, change rooms and washroom facilities could have reduced overall building requirements and facility costs.

HRM staff’s record of public comments at the December 2017 consultation raised concerns about predeterming the prioritization of the pool and many asked that HRM “Wait for Master Plan.” That public consultation did not find that there should be a new building. The design for the aquatic centre area from that time did not show an increase in the building footprint which evidently is now two buildings. 

There has been no public consultation on the present building design- an architectural black box – even though citizens will presumably be users of the year-round community room, kitchenette and performance space. Limiting public consultation can only curtail the imagination and creativity that might lead us to one day design and approve a natural, wild-space play area.

For the future FHC looks forward to a complete, approved and registered Halifax Common Master Plan. That final Plan should reflect proper and fully engaged public consultation and be informed by the 1994 Halifax Common Plan, not the desires of HRM staff. A Plan that protects and plans for the entire Halifax Common granted “to and for the use of the inhabitants of the town of Halifax as Common, forever” in 1763. And a Plan that is in place before beginning to implement, build, renovate or achieve any agreed-upon new elements to the Halifax Common. 

Petition to Protect the Halifax Common 

 

Proposed 7-storey parking garage next to the NS Museum of Natural History, Bengal Lancers and Wanderers Grounds. The steam / power plant will be on the north (right) side. (model by Marcel Tarnogorski)

Update: Congratulations, you made the difference! A sincere thank you to everyone who took the time to send an email, sign the petition and show support for the Halifax Common. On Tuesday Feb 25, Waye Mason tabled the petition at HRM Council. FHC is working to have the petition tabled at the Nova Scotia Legislature. An important goal is to have legislative protection of the Halifax Common; clearly, compromises behind closed doors aren’t working. 
 
Update: On Feb 11 HRM Council “compromised” with the Province by agreeing that the parkade and steam plant may be built on a western portion of Summer Street. This will impact only item #2 in the petition. FHC is continuing to collect signatures to increase public – pressure as the Halifax Common is still not protected! Please sign our on-line petition to protect the Halifax Common —
https://bit.ly/2v0w9kn Details below:

Continue reading

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.

CBC Radio Interview- Common’s Death by a Thousand Cuts

People walk up Citadel Hill through some thick fog on Thursday in Halifax-photo by Jeff Harper, Metro News

People walk up Citadel Hill through some thick fog on Thursday in Halifax-photo by Jeff Harper, Metro News

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:  clerks@halifax.ca.

(begins at 4:10)

Write to Protect the Halifax Common

This year Halifax will commemorate the June 23rd anniversary of the 240 acre Halifax Common grant from King George III by cutting several mature trees to make way for a roundabout at the Cogswell/NorthPark/Ahern/Trollope intersection.  Its a fitting tribute

View towards Cunard & North Park

View towards Cunard & North Park

to the on-going onslaught of the Common whereby less than 30 acres remain as public open space. And it suits the City’s habit of ignoring the 1994 Halifax Common Plan.

Now after a 21-year wait this year’s municipal budget includes money to begin the planning process. Time is not on the side of the Common.

Developers are unjustifiably making extensive use of the Development Agreement (DA) application process to ignore the Regional Plan’s existing controls that regulate size, mass, height and set back of buildings  for spot-rezoning. Right now there are DA applications for 25-, 28-, 18-, 11-, 24-storey buildings adjacent to the Halifax Common. And an 18-storey building approved next to Camphill Cemetery on Carleton St. and a 30-storey building proposed for Spring Garden Road at Carleton are on Halifax Common land.

By approving DAs for out-of-scale buildings, the Mayor and Council are allowing developers to preclude not just the Halifax Common Master Plan process, but also the Centre Plan and the Halifax Green Network processes. We have yet to ever hear about an Integrated Transportation Strategy and where roundabouts would rank against other priorities such as commuter rail.

Please write the Mayor and Council at clerks@halifax.ca to ask that they stick to the existing rules until new plans are complete. And send comments to the Halifax Green Network https://engage.o2design.com/halifax/engage_map/ asking for regulations to protect the Halifax Common and all public open BLUE space. Continue reading

Is Parking for the Common Good?

Letter To The Coast Magazine by Peggy Cameron, Coordinator, Friends of the Halifax Common

Why should parking be convenient? Get on board, support commuter rail at: halifax.ca/transit/commuterrail.php      The Coast Image credit: Jenn Wall, Cunard Street at North Common

Great job describing myriad reasons why metro pedestrians feel they’re the last on the list. I suspect it’s not the sidewalks that have patience maxed out but also the long-term failure of the city to develop an integrated transportation policy. Decades of widening streets to improve capacity and speed of vehicles (more recently it’s a roundabout fetish) has been to the detriment of meeting real transportation Continue reading